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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- 450g (1 lb) fideuà noodles/vermicelli or angel hair pasta, broken up to about 1“/2cm length
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp paprika
- generous pinch saffron
- 8 large prawns, left unshelled
- 500g (1.1 lb) mussels, clams and or/squid (the mix is up to you)
- 1 monkfish tail, cut into bite size pieces
- 1.5 litres (6 cups) fish or seafood stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 handfuls fresh parsley, chopped, to serve
- lemon wedges, to serve
- Scrub and clean your shellfish including the de-bearding the mussels and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in your chosen pan on medium heat.
- Add the noodles and stir to coat with the oil and cook until a light brown colour, about 3 minutes. Be careful because they do suddenly get too brown and burn. Err on the side of caution as all you’re doing is toasting them.
- Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
- Next, add prawns, monkfish, half the stock, the saffron and the paprika. Give everything a good stir, lower the heat slightly and let it cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if necessary.
- After 10 minutes, increase the heat, stir and add the rest of the stock and seafood (shellfish and squid).
- Stir well, reduce heat and cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the clams and mussels have popped open. Make sure the seafood is cooked right through, give it a couple more minutes if not.
- Taste the seasoning, add some salt if necessary, some freshly ground black pepper and serve hot, scattered with parsley and wedges of lemon to squeeze on.
- Serving Size: 4-6