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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

My Recipe for The Nduja Challenge - "Pan-Fried Halibut on Butter Beans and Nduja with a Lemon and Sage Dressing"

I was excited to be invited alongside four other bloggers to enter a competition and devise a recipe using Calabrian Nduja. A delicious ingredient,
Nduja is a spicy spreadable sausage made with different parts of the pig such as the shoulder, belly and jowl as well as tripe and head, roasted peppers and a mixture of spices including paprika.

The competition is being run by Unearthed, a young and dynamic company, managed by a small number of people including Simon Day whom I met at a charity dinner at the late Fernandez & Leluu supper club. Simon is one of the buyers and travels the world to unearth his foodie discoveries, like Nduja, and bring these to the shelves of Waitrose, Ocado and Abel & Cole among others.

I took some inspiration from Nduja’s origins and decided to maintain a Mediterranean theme for the recipe - "Pan-fried Halibut on Butter Beans and Nduja with a Lemon and Sage Dressing". I loved the combination of fish and pork in this dish - the butter bean and Sofritto mixture was creamy, soaking up the rich flavours from the Nduja and were well balanced by the "meaty" fish and lemon dressing. I served this with a plate of green, crunchy samphire simply tossed in butter.
I would appreciate your support by voting for my recipe here on Unearthed's Facebook page, it will only take you a second!

Pan-Fried Halibut on Butter Beans and NDUJA
with a Lemon & Sage Dressing

Ingredients (Serves 4):


4 fresh halibut fillets
200g unsmoked bacon lardons
300g butter beans
4 tbsp flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
100g plain white flour
Extra virgin olive oil for shallow frying
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
2 small celery sticks finely chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
6-8 fresh sage leaves


1. Soak the beans overnight or for 12 hours in plenty of cold water.

2. Make the Soffrito: heat the olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the celery, carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and some salt and freshly ground black pepper for 15 minutes, or until they start to turn golden.

3. Mix in the drained white beans. Do not over stir the beans to avoid them breaking up during cooking. Add enough water to cover the beans, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 30-45 minutes or until the beans are tender (you may need to add some more water if the beans are looking dry and not fully cooked). Remove the bay leaves.

4. While the beans are cooking, in a separate saucepan, heat 6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, add the unsmoked lardons and fry them until brown and lightly crispy. Add the NDUJA and stir until it has melted into the oil. Gently fold it into the white bean mixture. Add half of the chopped flat leaf parsley, add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and keep warm.

5. Season the white flour generously with salt and freshly ground pepper and lightly coat the halibut fillets, shaking off any excess flour. Heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-based, non-stick frying pan until very hot. Pan-fry the halibut fillets on a medium to high heat for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

6. Make the dressing: while the halibut fillets are frying, warm up the extra virgin olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic slices and sage leaves for a few minutes until the garlic and sage begins to caramelise and turn golden. Remove the dressing from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Mix well until lightly emulsified.

7. To serve, place the butter bean and Nduja mixture on a plate and top with the pan-fried halibut. Spoon the warm lemon dressing on top and sprinkle the remainder of the chopped flat leaf parsley. Serve immediately.

*Suggestion: I served this with samphire. Blanch some samphire in boiling water for 20 seconds. Drain and toss it in melted butter. Do not add salt as samphire is naturally salty.
8. Enjoy!

I would appreciate your support by voting for my recipe here on Unearthed's Facebook page, it will only take you a second!


  1. Wow! This looks seriously good - I love the idea of combining the n'duja with the unctuous butterbeans - and salty sausage with firm white fish. Yum! Definitely trying out this recipe - thank you :-)

  2. looks DELICIOUS! I am off to make this now..:)

  3. Looks truly delicious! Talk about surf and turf perfection....

  4. Lovely stuff- The Hungry One is on a low carb kick at the moment (after far too much haggis and tatties in Edinburgh) and I've been scratching around for more dinner options. This fits the bill perfectly.

  5. @ thelittleloaf - thanks! Loved your blog too, inspired by your Pad Thai recipe.

    @ Campari & Soda - let me know how you get on, thanks for your comment.

    @ Lucy - hey Lucy, indeed, love surf & turf combos. Nice to hear from you again.

    @ Tori - good to hear, loved your lentil recipe too!

  6. Looks fantastic Luiz - great creative use for nduja which I have only had before with pasta.

  7. @ Gourmet Chick - Thanks Cara, I was trying to think of something different for Nduja as I thought the others would come up with a pasta recipe, but at the end no one did! Loved the product.

  8. That's made me sooooo hungry!! Looks really nice Luiz!!


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