Nduja, pronounced “en-doo-ya” is a soft salami, dry cured, from Calabria, Italy. Up until recently it was not available for purchase in the United States. It couldn’t be imported because the salami was made with not only pork, but pork lungs. I know that sounds awful but if you go to your supermarket and look at the Mexican chorizo in the refrigerated section right next to the hot dogs and other packaged meats, you will find that it not only lists its ingredients as pork, but lymph nodes and salivary glands. YUCK!! Anyway, people who traveled to Italy and experienced this spicy hot Calabrian salami wanted to be able to have it here in the US. One such group of Chefs happen to own the Purple Pig restaurant in Chicago. They produce their own Nduja and serve a killer Pork Blade Steak topped with Nduja and honey. Bon Appetit published a story in 2010 about the Purple Pig and gave the recipe for the Blade steak. That got me interested in finding a recipe and making it for my own use. I found a great recipe by Len Poli, an expert in Charcuterie. That is the recipe I am using with the exception of adding Bactoferm T-SPX as a culture which most people are using now, and using smoked paprika instead of sweet paprika, bypassing the need to cold smoke for hours.
For 5 lbs. salami. 2 1/2 lbs pork shoulder. 2 1/2 lbs. pork back fat. 2 cups Calabrian hot pepper powder. 1 1/3 cup smoked paprika. 3 Tbs. Kosher salt. 1 tsp. Instacure #2. 1/4 tsp. Bactoferm T-SPX dissolved in 1/4 cup distilled water.
Cube meat and back fat and partially freeze. Place Bactoferm in the water and let sit for 30 minutes to activate. Grind meat using a 3/8 plate. Add the spices and mix well. Pour water with Bactoferm into the meat and mix again. Stuff meat mixture into protein lined casings. Let ferment at 68 degrees for 48 hours. Cure in curing box @ 54-60 degrees and relative humidity of 75% for 4 weeks. If you get a formation of mold on the casing don’t worry. It is good mold. However, if you wish, mix equal parts water and vinegar and wipe off the mold with a paper towel. This isn’t necessary but your curing chamber might smell better.
Now, the Calabrians like to put a little olive oil on crusty bread and top with thin slices of Nduja. For me that is a little spicy, but good. Here is the recipe for the Purple Pigs Pork Blade Steak with Nduja.
4 blade steaks. 4 ozs. thin sliced Nduja salami. 2 Tbs. honey. Lightly coat blade steaks with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Sear steaks on griddle or cast iron pan for 3 minutes. Turn steaks over and top evenly with Nduja. Salami will soften. Sear another 3 minutes. Place steaks Nduja side down on plates and drizzle honey over each. Serve with arugula salad.