Gaucho Gourmet has rescheduled a charcuterie tasting at their shop, 935 Isom Road for May 5. The tasting was originally scheduled for April 28. Come and sample an array of the cured, smoked and preserved meats, as well as sausages and the spicy nduja, which we discuss below.
The spreadable, Calabrian sausage with a kick, Nduja
We've noticed the word "nduja" popping up in recipes and discussions of charcuterie over the past couple of years, and decided to see if there was a source for this Calabrian sausage/spread in San Antonio.
Nduja is a type of charcuterie, a spicy spread, made of pieces of pork, especially tripe. It comes from Calabria, Italy.
Gaucho Gourmet carries it, and the lightly spicy nduja sells for around $23 for 3/4 of a pound. But its flavor is worth the price, says one of the family members who own Gaucho Gourmet, Luciano Ciociari -- and it's addictive.
"It has a little (spicy) kick, not overpowering and a soft texture. The taste is very flavorful and it lingers on the tongue," says Ciociari. The nduja they sell is from a domestic company that has produced it since the mid-1940s.
"Charcuterie is the art of making sausages and other cured, smoked and preserved meats. In addition to sausages, classic charcuterie items include pâtés, terrines, galantines, ballotines, confit and crepinetes." (from about.com). The French are credited with having brought the craft to Italy.
Nduja (un-DOO-ya) is a spreadable sausage made in Calabria, Italy. It's name sounds like the French "andouille," which is likely where it came from. Nduja is made from second and third choice cuts, like shoulder and thigh trimmings, head, and underbelly of the pig. The pigs are raised on a traditional diet of acorns, grain, chestnuts, beets, pumpkin and dinner table leftovers. The bits or cuts of meat are ground by hand, then encased in a large intestine and aged. If the meat is put into a small, rather than large intestine, it remains a fresh sausage that should be consumed within a month. (Academia Barrilla
How to use it
It can be spread on crostini and eaten as a snack or appetizer. Its flavor is also good in sauces, for stuffing ravioli or mushrooms. It can be warmed in pan with halved cherry tomatoes, olive oil and garlic and tossed into pasta, spooned into a braised meat dish to enrich the pan juices or to make a sauce, or used as a pizza topping.
Where to find it
In San Antonio, nduja can be found at Gaucho Gourmet, 935 Isom Road. This is mostly a wholesale outlet for a variety of imported and domestic products. But it opens to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, and now also on Wednesdays, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. You can also visit Gaucho Gourmet online at www.gauchogourmet.com
Penne Pasta with Nduja Sauce