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super new food

This is not one of those “super foods” I’ve spoken of before like pomegranates, quinoa, blueberries, or salmon. This is a super wonderful new food I recently discovered … a new ingredient. A difficult thing to do nowadays… find something new that most people honestly don’t know about. My discovery is nduja (en-doo-ya), a soft, spicy and spreadable salame (salami). Have you heard of it? Have you ever even heard of a spreadable salame before? I know, me neither! Nduja originated in Calabia, Italy. It is the perfect blend of spicy, tangy, and smoky. A little goes a good long way. Just a couple tablespoons are enough to enliven a whole pan of sauce. In Southern Italy, they spread it on grilled bread, on pizza, in pasta, or just on a cracker. This is seriously good stuff!

You can find it online at Boccalone, a super cool artisan salumi business located in Oakland, California. Just how cool are they? Their tagline is “Tasty Salted Pig Parts” … that’s pretty cool. Two 8-ounce chubs of Nduja costs $24.  That pound will go a long way to make some amazing dishes!  Here’s one recipe to get you started. Brilliant daughter, Marissa, suggested using the filling as a bruschetta topping next time – super idea – will do!  And just in case you missed it, the words of the day are “super” and “cool”!

Nduja Eggplant Roulades

2 large or 4 medium eggplant
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 ounces nduja
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
3 medium tomatoes
6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, patted dry and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup finely minced basil
1/4 cup mild goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat a grill, a grill pan, or a broiler. Trim ends and sides from eggplant.  Then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Using only 3 tablespoons of the olive oil for eggplant, lightly brush both sides of each slice with oil and grill or broil in batches on an oiled pan or rack until golden brown and tender, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer eggplant from the grill to a platter and keep warm. If using a grill pan, just remove pan from heat,  leave slices on pan to keep warm.

Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over moderately high heat in a large heavy skillet until hot and sauté the onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is golden. Stir in the nduja and use a spatula to break it up as it  blends into the onion mixture.

Meanwhile bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Cut an X in the blossom end of each tomato. Have a bowl of ice and cold water ready at the side of the stove. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch tomatoes 10 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer tomatoes to ice water to stop cooking. Starting at the X, peel tomatoes, then dice.

Add both the fresh and the sun-dried tomatoes plus pine nuts and basil to the onion mixture and sauté, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add goat cheese and stir, just until melted.

Remove skillet from heat and season filling with salt and pepper.

Place a generous tablespoon of filling at narrow end of an eggplant slice, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and roll up the slice, enclosing the filling. Make more roulades in same manner until all filling and slices are used. Sprinkle roulades with more Parmesan and serve hot or at room temperature as part of of buffet.

Makes about 12 roulades


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