Have you heard of ‘nduja (pronounced en-du-ya –andouille-get it?) ? What’s that? Yeah, you know, that little spicy red comma purée that all of a sudden punctuates all the new cool Parisian pizzas: at Zola, Bon Vivant Pizza, or even Daroco in the 16th, that’s all you see, more often with fior de latte to soften the sting. ‘Nduja is in reality nothing more than a big soft Calabrese sausage, spicy and tender, that looks a lot like Majorcan sobrasada. You can spread it and it’s even sold in jars, like rillettes. And actually, it’s this star of French cold cuts—more than the andouille sausage—that it resembles most: like rillettes, it uses the cheap cuts—the fattiest and the most succulent—of the pig. But spice, is its secret weapon, especially since Millennials are hooked on strong sensations most notably Sriracha.
Over the last 10 years it’s become the darling of New York foodies: over there they call it “Red Nutella” to show that it’s very addictive, “the Lady Gaga of Pork” to gently mock its omnipresence or even “Liquid Salami”. That one’s really good! In Europe ‘nduja-mania is newer—some of our Italian friends haven’t even heard of it yet! But its popularity is such that in Spilinga, the homeland of ‘nduja, production doubled last year…We are eagerly awaiting the first Made in Paris versions, that those neo-butchers in the East of Paris should be soon concocting. Actually ‘nduja has it all. Its undeniable relation to Cucina Povera, its carnivore obedience to Zero Waste—the Americans talk about nose to tail eating—the way in which it is now PC to consume animals without wasting anything, its nifty little smoky taste—another millennial tic—it checks all the right boxes of that good fat that we love.
And what do you use it for, if not for those attractive little splashes on pizzas? You can put in in spaghetti sauce, meat stews, scrambled eggs, orzo risotto, it wakes up the taste of soup, you can spread it on the bread you use to sop up sauce—at Le Futiloscope we can see it on roasted cauliflower, as a change from tahina. All bets are off, ‘nduja goes with just about everything!
Photo : Ends Meat, whole animal salumeria in Industry City & Essex Street Market, NYC