Who, at least once in their life, has not tasted a slice of toasted bread with ‘nduja? We are talking about the most famous spreadable sausage in Italy, enriching many different dishes, but also excellent simply on hot bread.
However, almost nobody knows that it comes from Spilinga, a very small town of 1400 people.
Spilinga rises along the slopes of Monte Poro, in the south of Tropea (a town famous for its PGI red onions).
The origins of Nduja
It seems that the invention of Nduja goes back to the early ‘800 when some Calabrians tasted the French andouille, a spreadable sausage made with tripe from which they took inspiration for the preparation of a product based on local ingredients, closer to their expertise.
So they mixed fat, offal, the pork rind and a very dear ingredient to Calabrians: the chili pepper. Today the ‘nduja is based on a recipe in line with modern times.
The ‘nduja of Spilinga is made with meat, fat coming from pieces of lard, the Italian guanciale and pancetta and, of course, ground pepper. Like any self-respecting sausage, everything is then put in an aged casing (the orba).
A product to be protected
It’s very important to read carefully its ingredients and check where it comes from. If you want to try the real nduja PGI, it’s better not to run into one of the many bad imitations that are put on the market, which are mixed with different spices.
It is important to remember that the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has included ‘nduja in the list of Calabria’s traditional food products (PAT).
The characteristics of Nduja of Spilinga
Going back to the ‘nduja, we can say that it shows with vivid red colour, soft and even creamy: that’s why it is possible to spread it. Like most Italian recipes known worldwide, also the ’nduja comes from the ancient poor cooking, born to meet the need to reuse the food waste, in this case pork waste, instead of throwing it away.
There is also a version of smoked ‘nduja, but it is a light smoke obtained from olive essences (or robinia). In this case, it is left to mature from three to six months, according to the most appropriate period of time, based on the size of the ‘nduja. Unlike many cured meats, preservatives are not added, since the chili pepper itself acts as an antiseptic and antioxidant.
The ‘nduja is widely used both in national and international cuisine, especially to enrich a whole series of preparations: sauces, pizza, meat and vegetables but it is unforgettable paired with the typical Calabrian dishes.