I hate that the North American media seem to have suddenly “discovered” ‘nduja, that lovely, chile-dense, fatty-fatty, Calabrese pork-o-rama wonder. I also hate that no one who serves it seems to be able to pronounce its name correctly. (Not the same stuff at all, but consider the etymological relation to andouille…)
I ate my first smeary spoonful out of the bladder it had been aged in, which was sitting on a paper plate on the lecturer’s desk in our UNISG classroom in Colorno. Thought I’d died and gone to a very pleasantly tasting hell. The hot was high, but the enduring burn was low (capsaicin’s effects in the mouth and throat are largely neutralized by animal fat). This had just become my salumi of preference.
Years later and back in Montreal, I found it on the Dolcetto & Co. menu, and loved it once again. (This partly because I never had to share the meager portion they served up, given my ex’s sensitivity to spicy stuff.) Then Boucherie Lawrence started selling it, and I made my weekly pilgrimages until I decided theirs wasn’t quite hot enough for me, and a tiny bit too gummy. (It’s better cooked, but I hate melting out all that lard.)
So imagine my rejoice when the brilliant and deft west-coast charcutier (and generally wise owl) CB decided to start making ‘nduja. The first year, we had it on pizza, and ’twas fiery and fabulous. The second year, he gifted me with a whole unit of the stuff (heh-heh, I said unit), which I then traveled around the BC-WA region for a bit (sorry, import laws), so that I could ‘nduja it up with friends and family. (According to CB’s advice, the raw butt-end was to be placed sott’olio between feedings.)
‘Cause I ain’t no food pornographer, here are some unfiltered, non-idealized images of those moments of ‘ndujence, both alone and with others. Now go and find some so you too can have an unmediated pork-chile-fat self-pleasuring experience.