‘Nduja, a Calabrian specialty
After long last, it was love at first bite for ‘nduja and me! I recently have been on a mission to find this elusive salumi. For those outside of the salumi loop, ‘nduja is a fiery hot, spreadable salume that is native to the town of Spilinga in the province of Vibo Valentia in the region of Calabria. People in the know say that upon first taste many people are addicted. And case in point, I’ve become addicted to this dark red masterpiece of salumi.
Living in New York Metropolitan Area, we are lucky enough to have pockets of communities with people who have emigrated from Italy. And within these communities, the people have brought with them customs, traditions and foods of their native villages. So as with the case of ‘nduja, we in New Jersey are lucky enough to have a place that makes this tasty specialty. The place I am referring to is Antonio Mozzarella Factory Italian Deli and Specialty Market located at 71 Springfield Avenue in Springfield, NJ. The owners of Antonio are originally from Spilinga, which gives them a leg up on the making of ‘nduja.
Now you might be asking yourself, “How in the world did you find this obscure Calabrian specialty in New Jersey?” And my answer to you would be that when it comes to obscure, hardcore, hard-to-find Italian specialties there is good friend of mine named Patrick O’Boyle that I can consult with and who has yet to let me down. Pat is an amazing resource of knowledge of all things Italian & Italian-American. Pat is a true gentleman and is always willing to help out.
Recently, ‘nduja came up in a conversation and I was intent on getting my hands on some of this “Calabrian Gold”. Pat without even hesitating said that I should look no further than Antonio Mozzarella Factory. This week I was determined to acquire ‘nduja. So I called up the store to make sure it was available and to my good fortune it was. I took the 35 minute ride from my home base in Bergen County to Springfield, which is located in Union County off of the Garden State Parkway. I walked into the store with one thing on my mind. I really didn’t even check out any of the other products, including what they are known for, their mozzarella. I approached the counter with clammy hands and half whispered to the worker that I was here for the ‘nduja. You would think I was trying to buy something illegal. The worker said he had to get it from the back, so then I really felt “guilty”. He came out with two dark red sticks of ‘nduja. He placed them on the scale, printed out a ticket, but them into a bag & handed them to the woman working the register. I gave the woman the money and she handed over my purchase. I exited the store quickly and couldn’t wait to get myself home to indulge in this intensely spicy masterpiece.
“Isn’t she pretty?”
Once home, I rushed inside and tore open the bag revealing my ‘nduja, which actually kind of resembles what Americans call peperoni. I cut open the skin revealing the dark red meat on the inside. I didn’t waste no time, I used a knife to scoop out some of the meat. The meat was loaded with pepperoncini. That first bite was pure ecstasy. It was fiery and porky and vinegary and bit smoky. It was everything and more I expect in a great salame. Since, getting the ‘nduja I’ve been addicted. I’ve been sneaking spoonfuls of it through the day, even putting it on top the burgers I grilled. I look forward to not just eating it as is, but always using it more as a condiment in my cooking. I think my next experiment is to pair it with pasta.
‘Nduja topped burger equals heaven on a brioche bun!
I mentioned on Facebook that Nutella was so 2010. So let’s make 2011 the year of the ‘Nduja. Seriously, if you love spicy, there is no reason you can’t put it on everything from pizza to cupcakes…NO JOKE! I hope you’ll go out and get yourself some ‘nduja. Enjoy!
Antonio Mozzarella Factory Italian Deli & Marketplace
71 Springfield Avenue
Springfield, New Jersey 07081
Living to eat,