Brown Bag Lunch #2: A Little Dab Nduja
Believe it or not, this is a jar of sausage. Nduja, pronounced /n-DOO-yah/ is a spreadable sausage from Calabria where word has it, people like it hot. This sausage spread has at least as much red, hot pepperoncino as it does pork and interestingly, the name derives from the French, "Andouille" sausage, the ancestor of Louisiana Andouille, the be all and end all of gumbo.
After almost 4 years of living in Italy, I have become accustomed to disregarding Italians' warnings of how "piccante" some food might be. As a rule Italian food (at least all the way up here in Milan) is mild, and Italians I know rather wary of spice in general. So when I saw this jar, I thought, "eh, it's probably moderately spicy." Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, this is 4-alarm chili hot! I stuck my pinkie finger into the jar and tasted less than a 1/4 teaspoon of this and proceeded to gulp down a full glass of water to calm the inferno on my tongue.
Don't get me wrong, this stuff is really good. Spread really thinly on a sandwich with some fresh mozzarella cheese and bread (both things help moderate spiciness) you can taste a good earthy base to the chilis here, there's an umami quality along with the spice that's really pleasant. Music to eat Nduja by: "Runnin' Wild" sung by Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like it Hot" And it makes a helluva lunch.