Today’s dish, Fideuà is a cousin of the famous Paella, made with pretty much the same ingredients but, instead of rice, Fideuà noodles provide the starch. More often than not, it’s a seafood dish, brimming with mussels, scallops, prawns, clams and anything else the cook desires, with a hint of vegetables like capsicum, leek and peas. Like it’s relative, Fideuà is also cooked in a paella (pan) but if you haven’t got one, a large shallow pan will do just as nicely and like the paella, it is extremely easy to make.
I must confess I’ve never had Fideuà outside of Spain, I don’t see it at all on Spanish restaurant menus as I guess it is rather eclipsed by the Paella in reputation and whenever I’ve served it to friends, the reaction is always the same – they’ve never had it before. But you must try it, it’s fantastically different yet familiar (to those of you who love Paella).
We make this fairly regularly at home as everyone loves it, a different sort of noodle dish, you might say and we most certainly try to have it whenever we’re in Spain. Our last stay in Spain lasted a month and we did manage to have a locally made Fideuà in Alicante, along with a local sweet liqueur I had for the first time, called mellitas, only found in the Alicante region. Below is a picture of the Alicante marina, a lovely peaceful place, outside of tourist season!
In Spain and in specialist Spanish shops, you’ll find the “proper” Fideuà noodles, that is, the pasta all broken up into regular lengths. In the UK, I get them online if I’m catering or having a posh do. Otherwise, I make do with vermicelli pasta (or spagettini), crunching them up with my hands, not bothering about uniformity, as long as they’re in tiny pieces, I’m happy. If you do have access to a Spanish shop, I suggest you go for the thinner fideuà noodles as they’ll absorb all the flavours better.
Last word before we start, get all the ingredients ready because the first few steps are done pretty quickly and you don’t want to burn the noodles when toasting them.
You’ll find a handful more Spanish recipes on this site, like the following:
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Fideua - Spanish Noodle Recipe