The year was 1930. A Spanish fisherman, Juan Bautista Pascual Sanchís, was at sea with three other mates. As the youngest, he was tasked with the meal preparation and cooking for the rest of the crew. The menú del dia tended towards one dish – a seafood rice dish utilizing a stock from the catch of the day. One constant problem haunted this crew, though. The boat’s owner was so fond of rice that there was rarely enough for them to fill their growling stomachs. Juan Bautista thought that if he substituted noodles for rice there would be enough for him and the rest of the crew. He was wrong! In addition to the ship’s owner enjoying this new dish the news spread quickly and others (on land and at sea) quick adopted the practice. Fideuà was born!
Fideuà is prepared much like paella and even uses most of the same ingredients with the exception of the noodles (basically an angel hair pasta-sized noodle that is only about an inch long). It is as much an individual dish as is paella. Each person has his or her own recipe. At the end of cooking many folks will slide the pan – you still use a paella pan – under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp the top. Additionally, aioli (a garlic mayonnaise) is also served on the side to complement the dish.
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Large pinch of saffron
- 3-4 tbl extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 chicken breast, cut in ½ inch cubes
- 4 oz Spanish chorizo, sliced thin
- 16 oz pkg fideuà noodles
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 lb peeled raw shrimp
- ½ bunch parsley, minced
- In a saucepan heat the chicken broth and saffron and reserve for later;
- Heat the olive oil in the pan over a medium heat;
- Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and sauté until translucent;
- Add the chicken and cook for a few minutes until just cooked on the outside;
- Add the chorizo and cook another few minutes until the oil starts to take on a reddish color;
- Add the noodles and mix all ingredients (to coat the noodles before adding the liquid);
- Add the warmed chicken broth and lemon to the pan and mix ingredients together;
- Bring to a simmer and add the shrimp;
- Cook until the noodles are just done and the shrimp are pink;
- (Optional) Place pan under broiler for about 5-6 minutes to toast the top.
- Sprinkle parsley around the dish;
- Serve with aioli (optional) and lemon wedges.
This dish is extremely versatile when it comes to pairing wine. I drank a wonderful young Garnacha from Campo de Borja with this but would also try any number of Spanish whites (try an Albariño, Garnacha Blanca, Godello, or Viura) or a fresh rosé as well. You will find that any number of these would complement the dish well. ¡Buen Provecho!
Life is short. Drink Spanish wine!