‘Nduja Mussels: A Bowl of Powerful Flavors
By Marcy Harris
Our Blue Hill Bay mussels have been a favorite on the Roadhouse menu for years. Plump, sweet, and tender, they are a satisfying starter to any meal at the Roadhouse. Recently our chefs decided to spice things up by adding ‘Nduja to our mussels. It’s been a favored special for anyone who appreciates a serious jumpstart to their palate, as the flavors are explosive.
The Boot kicks up really great flavor!
Zingerman’s loves Italy, for all its simple, fresh, high quality foods. Every now and then, we source out something that is truly unique from this beloved boot-shaped region, and ‘Nduja has been a most welcome addition to our menu.
The best way I can describe it is like chorizo. It is a soft Calabrian sausage, made from salumi and hot peppers, and comes from a clique of sausages called “salami dal spalmare,” or “spreadable salamis.” The name ‘Nduja pronounced “en-doo-yah”, possibly came from the French word, Andouille, which is a spicy sausage in its own right. When I say ‘Nduja, I sound like a Yooper.
‘N do ya’ know, it’s so good.
The pork meat is ground with Calabrian chiles, and can be aged for a couple years or stuffed incasing to be served fresh. We get ours from ‘Nduja Artisans in Chicago. Once it is prepared, it is amazing on bread, served with fresh soft cheese, like ricotta or burrata. It can be served with grilled or roasted meats and fish, used as a base for a pasta sauce, or cooked with eggs. Due to its soft texture, it is quite versatile when you want to add a powerful, lingering heat to a dish.
Ari Weinzweig describes its flavor best: “Spicy, slightly sweet, buttery, powerfully porky, yet as smooth in texture as homemade strawberry jam. ‘Nduja is, almost inconceivably, both subtle and strong at the same time.”
Soak up the heat.
Adding it to our mussels is just inconceivably out of this world. It complements the fresh sweetness of the mussels perfectly, and adds a smokiness to the tomato broth we steam the mussels in. I love to soak thick slices of our Roadhouse bread in the broth and scoop up the ‘Nduja with the mussels. Our ‘Nduja Mussels are a hearty meal, and now that it is getting cold, a bowl of them may be the perfect thing to warm you right through to your toes.
Stop by and try it after your holiday shopping and snowman building. Your heart will melt with each spoonful of this unforgettable dish.
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