So – what is nduja (pronounced in-DOOJ-ah) we hear you cry!? Considered a highly versatile ingredient, nduja is a spicy pork paste, with a texture similar to that of pâté. A combination of pork fat, herbs and spices and Calabrian peppers it provides an intense colour, meaty, spicy and umami palate, lending itself to jazzing up many dishes – from spreading it on to bread, enhancing pasta dishes, to branching out and stuffing squid with it.
£6.90 – £13.20
Nduja’s origin comes from the Calabria region of Italy, in the south of the country. As nduja is filled with rich and smoky pepper flavours, it is thought to have been introduced into the region by the Spanish when they were fighting the French in the 19th century. More recently, the spicy nduja salami first began to make an appearance in the UK back in 2006, thanks to chef Francesco Mazzei.
Here in the depths of West Dorset, we are lucky enough to have a number of handmade pizza companies. You will often find nduja gracing the menu to add a decent kick of spice and depth to the pizzas alongside other toppings. Or you could always give making your own pizzas at home a go – we sell Molino Pasini ‘0’ pizza flour both on the market and online. This way you can add as much or as little of the spicy nduja as you want – a little does go a long way!
At Mercato Italiano, we specifically stock nduja from Gabriella Bellatone, a company with strong Italian family traditions. The company is based in Spilinga on the north side of Mount Poro, in the Calabria region. Gabriella Bellatone was personally recommended by Ilaria’s (the founder of Mercato Italiano) university friend, Giuseppe Palladino. Giuseppe is not only a Calabrian chef who originates also from Spilinga but is a professor at the Gastronomy Parma University where he provides lectures about chillies world-wide – well placed for knowing a thing or two about spicy nduja!
You can purchase a 180g nduja jar, or more specific quantities directly from the Mercato Italiano online shop here, or find us at Bridport market (Wednesday & Saturdays) and Axminster market in Devon on Thursdays (all markets are weather dependent, so be sure to keep an eye on our social media for updates).
Make nduja a staple of your store cupboard to add some spice and flavour to your dishes and be sure to tag us online to show us how you bring a piece of Italy to the dinner table!
This is a super easy mid-week meal – you can scale it up or down depending if you want to use it for a side dish or as a main. You can find many of the ingredients on the market without any hassle (you can find us at the local Bridport market Wednesdays & Saturdays, and Axminster market on Thursdays). We sell nduja – the star ingredient – in two forms; 180g nduja jar or to be cut on the market in larger or smaller quantities – as well as some gorgeous Parmesan to top off the dish (both 24 month and 30 month).
The Wobbly Cottage sells some of the best sourdough bread in West Dorset (use some left over bread for the breadcrumbs, or a fresh loaf to serve with the dish); Chideock Champignons grow a variety of mushrooms to add a twist from the portobello mushrooms suggested, which can be purchased locally from Fruits of the Earth in Bridport; and the dish can be finished off with a salad from Tamarisk Farm
Stuffed mushrooms with ’nduja ( recipe by Thomasina Miers’s )
Crisp crumbs, meaty interior, rich, garlicky, umami juices: this is one supper you will be pleased to have tried.
Prep 15 min
Cook 35 min
7 large portobello mushrooms, wiped clean
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small handful thyme, picked
2 large, ripe tomatoes, roughly diced
For the breadcrumbs
125g stale bread, crusts removed, or panko breadcrumbs
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to finish
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Break the stalks off six of the mushrooms and chop them up with the seventh mushroom. Heat the oil and a third of the butter, and saute the mushrooms, onion and fennel over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, seasoning well.
Add three of the garlic cloves, crushed, and the thyme, cook for a few minutes more, so the raw flavour of the garlic softens, then stir in the ’nduja and tomatoes. Simmer very gently, stirring from time to time, for another five to eight minutes, while you fry the breadcrumbs.
If you are using stale bread, whizz it up in a blender. Melt another third of the butter in a hot frying pan and add the crumbs. Season well, add the last clove of garlic, again crushed, fry until golden and fragrant, then leave to cool a little.
Lay out the mushrooms on a baking sheet and top with the sauteed onion mix. Top with the crumbs, dot over the remaining butter, scatter over a small handful of grated parmesan, to taste, and roast for about 15 minutes, until sizzling and golden. Eat with fresh bread and a salad, if you want.