What is 'nduja and how should you use it?

Soft boiled eggs with 'nduja

Soft boiled eggs with 'nduja

This fiery spreadable salami turns up the flavour dial on everything from eggs to pizza.

Pictured above: soft-boiled eggs with 'nduja

What is it?
First up, let's get the pronunciation clear: en-doo-yah (said with your best Italian accent). We're obsessed with this spicy spreadable salami from Calabria. Made with a mix of pork, herbs and spices including a generous hit of Calabrian chilli peppers, it packs a punch.

Why do we care?
The soft texture of this intensely flavoured salami is part of its appeal. Bring the 'nduja to room temperature before you use it to get the full flavour and to allow the fat to soften. We also love its rich red colour, courtesy of the chilli peppers. The pork, fat and chilli heat add up to one amazing flavour sensation. A little goes a long way, and it lasts well in the refrigerator.

Where can I get it?
It can be tricky to find 'nduja. Specialist Italian delicatessens sell it, either in its whole form, which is shaped like a football and wrapped in netting, or in jars or resealable packets. We especially love Salumi Australia's version and it has distributors throughout the country. See salumi.com.au for stockists.

'Nduja fried eggs
Serves 2

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add 50gm 'nduja and fry, stirring occasionally, until it melts (2-3 minutes). Reduce heat to medium, crack in 4 eggs and fry until cooked to your liking (2-3 minutes for soft yolks). Scatter with torn flat-leaf parsley and oregano, season to taste and serve with toasted ciabatta.

Clam linguine with 'nduja
Serves 4

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1kg clams and 100ml dry white wine, cover with a lid and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until clams open. Transfer clams to a bowl and strain cooking liquid into a jug. Wipe out pan, then add 2 tbsp olive oil, ½ chopped Spanish onion and 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, and sauté until onion is translucent (2-3 minutes). Stir in 100gm 'nduja until it melts (1-2 minutes), then add 400gm canned cherry tomatoes and the reserved cooking liquid, season to taste and simmer until well flavoured (4-5 minutes). Meanwhile, cook 350gm dried linguine in a large saucepan of well-salted boiling water until al dente (5-6 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking water, then add linguine to clam mixture with a generous handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley and a splash of the cooking water, toss to coat and serve hot.

'Nduja and mascarpone pizza
Makes 4

Combine 7gm (1 sachet) dried yeast and 340ml lukewarm water in a bowl, stir to dissolve yeast and stand until foamy (2-3 minutes). Add 450gm pizza flour, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt, and knead to form a smooth, elastic dough (6-8 minutes). Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave until doubled in size (1-1½ hours). Knock back dough, knead lightly, then cover and leave again until doubled in size (45 minutes to 1 hour). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250C and place two heavy-based oven trays in the oven to heat. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and roll out as thinly as possible. Spread each with 25gm mascarpone (thin with a little hot water if necessary), then dot each with 70gm 'nduja, scatter with 20gm finely grated parmesan and a little thyme, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and bake on heated trays until bubbling (10-15 minutes). Season to taste and serve hot.

Bruschetta with 'nduja and mozzarella
Serves 4

Preheat grill to high. Drizzle both sides of 8 thick slices of sourdough bread with extra-virgin olive oil, season, then grill, turning once, until toasted (1-2 minutes each side). Rub one or both sides with the cut side of a halved garlic clove, then spread each with 1 tbsp 'nduja at room temperature. Divide 200gm torn buffalo mozzarella among the slices, season to taste and serve drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.

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