Mussels with ’Nduja at the Roadhouse

A sensationally superb take on surf and turf!

By Ari Weinzweig

One of the most loved dishes on the Roadhouse menu is a terrific combo of ’nduja—the amazing spicy, spreadable pork salami of Calabria—cooked into the broth of fresh Maine Mussels. I loved ’nduja when I first tried it, and I love it just as much all these years later. To get clear on the name, it’s pronounced: “en-doo-yah.” In Calabria, this special spreadable pork sausage is everyday fare. Tony Fiasche makes ours in Chicago at Tempesta Market, using his Calabrian grandfather’s recipe. It’s made by finely grinding pork fat and meat, seasoning it with lots of spicy Calabrian chiles, and then aging the seasoned pork paste in a casing. It’s a great addition to most any dish—in this one it’s with mussels, but it’s also terrific on a burger, added to tomato sauces, bean soups, or grilled cheese sandwiches. 

In a Roadhouse world that’s filled with fried chicken, mac and cheese, barbecue, and burgers, the mussels rarely hit the headlines. They might, though, be a signature dish in the making. If you like seafood and you like spice, this is a dish you won’t want to miss! The mussels are marvelous and the addition of the ’nduja takes them to new heights of flavor. The mussels come from the majestically pristine waters of Blue Hill Bay off of Hardwood Island, Maine—a couple miles west of Acadia National Park. The Blue Hill Bay mussels are essentially farmed in “seclusion” so they aren’t fighting for nutrients and oxygen like many are when shellfish farms are packed together in the same bay. All that good work yields plumper, plusher, meatier mussels that pair pretty darned nicely with the porkiness of the ’nduja! When the two come together, you end up with a bowl of steaming hot, softly spicy seafood. Ask for extra bread to soak up the broth! You can also order the mussels as a main course (that’s my MO) with a nice side of fries on the side to make our local version of the Belgian Moules et Frites.