If you will remember, some time ago I posted about a charcuterie experiment that I had thrown into my curing chamber (Franken-fridge). I had whipped up a version of the Calabrian spreadable salami 'Nduja which I named "'Ndjutica" in honor of the Utica Grind Pepper that I used in the recipe. Here she is pre-curing-
I put this chub to cure in early January (I didn't get around to publishing the original post until late January) so this puts the total cure time at around 6 to 7 weeks. I had planned on letting the chub cure for several months -- but as expected -- curiosity got the better of me and I pulled it early. I was anxious to know whether my 'Ndjutica was a success or not (6-7 weeks is enough to get the jist) so I could get to making subsequent batches to satiate my meat-spread hunger...
I was immediately encouraged upon slicing off an end of the 'Ndjutica as it appeared to have dry cured pretty evenly throughout the entire chub. It pretty much looked just like the (overpriced...) Boccalone 'Nduja that I ordered and sampled quite some time ago.
I pulled a hunk out of the twisty end bit and warmed it up between my fingers. The texture was perfect! I.e., not sliceable like a traditional salami, but fatty and maleable like 'Nduja is supposed to be. I tasted a bit of the 'Ndjutica and thought it was delicious. The salami was salty, fiery (but not intolerably so), smoky, with a fair amount of fermented funkiness. I was just pleased as punch with my creation.
My mind immediately began racing with ideas for ways to utilize the fairly large amount of 'Ndjutica that I had on hand (aside from eating it straight). Generally you eat the stuff warmed and spread on bread, or you can throw it into a pasta sauce. I also recalled having seen a neat idea to make a sort of 'Nduja compound butter. I thought this would be a worthy purpose for a nice bit of my 'Ndjutica. I got to work post haste.
Using a rolling pin and some cellophane I fashioned two large rectangles (one of butter, one of 'Ndjutica). Just look how nicely the spicy stuff spread out -
Afterwards I carefully rolled the two fatty squares together into a sort of meat/butter jelly roll. I threw the beautiful cylinder of spicy charcuterie and butter into the fridge to chill down and meld flavors for the evening.
This morning I had the wife pick up a loaf of Prinzo's Bakery (Delaware Ave., Albany) bread. To me Prinzo's bread is the perfect "blank canvas" sort of thing when you really want to enjoy the accompaniment without another strong flavor getting in the way. Prinzo's bread is also my favorite vehicle upon which to enjoy my other treasured meat spread -- Rolf's Pork Store's Teewurst.
Ain't the below a pretty picture if there weren't ever one? Just look at that fatty red 'Ndjutica rolled within that yellow butter. I almost cried.
And here she is spread lightly on a thin slice of bread.
I spread the stuff cold which was not ideal, but I could not wait. A hunk of the 'Ndjutica butter at room temp. with an ice cold beer and a nice slice of fresh bread is going to be really very good. I am going to wait until the weather gets a bit better so I can enjoy this experience outside unsullied by the crap weather we have been receiving. I will let you know how that goes...
In any event, the 'Ndjutica was everything I could have hoped or dreamed for in a homemade meat creation. There are precious few times in my life where I would put up one of my own home-crafted food items against any commercially available version of the same -- this is one of them. I can't find too many flaws with this recipe and given a few minor tweaks I am going to put 'Ndjutica into regular home production. I can't restate how thoroughly satisfied I am with this project.
OK, my arms are sore from patting my own back. That is all.