There is one spicy sausage has been sweeping the nation in the last few years, delighting food writers and confounding poor-pronouncers in equal measure.
** To clarify, it’s pronounced ‘en-doo-yah’ **
‘Nduja is a spreadable, spicy salami that originated in Calabria, Southern Italy, where it has been a staple product for many years. But here in the UK, where we have had a minor obsession with all things Italian since the 70s, ‘nduja somehow managed to pass us by until around 2010, when it suddenly hit and forced its spicy way in to our consciousness. Its current popularity has led to one Italian food magazine declaring 2016 as ‘The Year of ‘Nduja’. So why did it take so long to catch on, and why do we love it now?
It is slightly confounding that ‘nduja appeared so late in our Italian food repertoire in this country – but one explanation may be down to our squeamishness surrounding offal. Aside from exclusive foodie circles, offal isn’t viewed as a fashionable foodstuff in the UK. ‘Nduja’s traditional roots as a peasants salami, using all parts of the pig including lung, liver and excess fat may have led to a reluctance amongst both consumers and food buyers. One reason perhaps that it took so long to appear could be down to its fiery chilli heat, with the unadventurous British public a little perturbed by its tongue tingling tendencies. Whatever the reason it took so long, we are very pleased indeed it has arrived.
It’s growth in popularity can be tied to the revolution the British food scene has seen over the last 15 years or so. Our exposure to world food cultures via television and celebrity chefs, along with a diverse array of restaurant openings has led to an increasingly curious British palate. Pleasingly this has opened up a whole new world of vibrant new flavours, with ‘nduja at the forefront. The main fact however, is the strength of the blend of chilli, meat and fennel seeds cannot fail to excite even the most unresponsive of tastebuds.
The popularity of ‘nduja has led to our artisanal British producers trying their hand at curing this soft and spicy salami with great success. Our friends at Moons Green charcuterie produce a ‘Fiery Nudger’ (their unique take on it), which is laden with chilli flakes and fennel seeds and works incredibly well on a pizza. They also make a ‘British Nudger’ which is a little tempered down for those who aren’t chilli fiends. Both of these products use top quality British pork, making for a spicy piggy treat. Pick up either of these fantastic products on our market stalls, take it home and experiment with pizzas and pasta sauces and you wont be disappointed.
Visit us at Borough Market, Kings Cross, Herne Hill, Archway, Primrose Hill, West Hampstead, Victoria Park and London Fields. www.cannonandcannon.com