Hero ingredient - nduja
This is not only my ingredient of the week, it my possibly my all time favourite ingredient and plays a star role in my signature dish (more to follow..)
WHAT IS IT? This spreadable Italian sausage from Calabria has the holy trinity, being spicy, porky and fatty. Like a spicier, spreadable pork scratching but about a thousand times better. My palette tells me that it's about 50% calabrian chilli pepper and that you don't want to know the rest which likely involves faces of animals. Sheesh but how good do those faces taste.
WHAT DO I DO WITH IT? Bit of a confession here. I sat in the front seat of the car and spooned it out of the jar with little Italian rosemary crackers. While this does seem a little barbaric, the Italians do have it spread on toast. One of the main ways to use it is in pasta dishes with seafood, or as a base for stews. Anything that needs a spicy, meaty kick. One of my favourite ways to use it is when roasting potatoes. Three quarters of the way through the roasting time, I push down on each potato to crack the surface. I then spoon a heaped tablespoon into the roasting dish to coat the spuds, tossing regularly to coat until cooked. Piggy nirvana.
WHERE CAN I GET IT? Most specimens don't normally come in a jar but this seemed no worse for it. Normally it is in casing which it needs to be cut out of. A good Italian deli will have it in stock and I wouldn't be surprised if it has made it into the Waitrose Essentials range by 2015. Go get some now!