Last week Michael received a wondrous and enormous food basket overflowing with pasta, cheeses, polenta, salumi, candy, and other tasty treats. So far, everything has been delicious, but my favorite is something I had never heard of: a large casing of spreadable salami (salami dal spalmare). Salami dal spalmare is just what it sounds like: soft salami that you spread on bread or toast, fry with eggs, or melt on pizza or in pasta. In a New York Times article from December 22, 2009, a fan describes salami dal spalmare as “the spreadable Italian love child of pepperoni and French rillettes.” Another called salami dal spalmare “the red Nutella.” Ha ha!
We stayed in Sancerre, France, for a couple of weeks a few summers ago, and when we shopped for food, we often found ourselves at the meat market buying rillettes. Wiki says: “Rillettes are a preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally made with pork, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. They are normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature.” When rillettes are on a menu, I always order a serving. I like pâté, too, but give me rillettes any day.
So imagine my joy when I discovered that Italy has its own version of rillettes, and imagine my joy when I took my first bite of salami dal spalmare and swooned! Salami dal spalmare is made by combining meat scraps and pork fat in a casing, which is then smoked. The most popular version of salami dal spalmare is nduja, which comes from Calabria and which is one of the most fiery foods of Italy because lots of red chilies are added to the meat mixture. After our lunch of salami dal spalmare on Saturday, I was determined to find some nduja. We stopped at one of my old favorite restaurants, Obikà Mozzarella Bar, in Campo de’ Fiori for lunch Sunday, and guess what was on the menu. Pizza with nduja! Hot, hot, hot, and simply divine!
To those of you who introduced us to salami dal spalmare, grazie mille! I’m hooked, and I’m grateful!