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Paella too tricky? Try making Fideua...Paella with pasta
13 September 2018 @ 22:40

Making paella can be a daunting challenge for many, getting the proportion of water to rice right so it doesn’t stick and go soggy, managing to get an intense flavour and so on, but for others it can be just an impossible task because they either don’t have a paella pan or can’t find the Valencian round rice if they live abroad and you can’t make a paella with any other rice and achieve a good result. So I figured I would write a post on an alternative recipe which is so easy and so good that you just can’t go wrong no matter how bad you are in the kitchen, if you put this on the table you will immediately become a star!
 
Fideuá is a very typical Valencian dish made with seafood and pasta, and pasta is much easier than rice! Traditionally it is cooked in a paella pan but you can do it perfectly well in a large non-stick frying pan without any problems at all and the technique I’m going to explain is absolutely fool proof and was shown to me by a chef in Cullera, Valencia, who whipped out dozens of Fideuá every lunch time and were always cooked to perfection. So how do we make it?
 
The key to this dish is in fact the stock, the secret is to make a good fish and seafood stock which is really simple. All supermarkets in Spain and the UK that have a fish counter sell mixed fish for fish stock (white fish) and fish bones such as hake or monk fish and small uncooked prawns are available everywhere so you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding the necessary ingredients for the stock. This type of fish is also very cheap. Here in Spain 1kg won’t cost you more than €4,50 and will make enough stock for two medium sized Fideuá so you can freeze the rest of the stock for another day.
 
Here are the ingredients you will need to make a cracking Fideuá for 4 adults:
 
Stock:
 
1kg of mixed white fish and fish bones for stock
400g of Small uncooked prawns
50g Fresh “flat” parsley with stems
2 cloves of garlic
0,2g of Natural toasted Saffron or a sprinkle of dried saffron powder
3 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Picual is ideal or Hojiblanca
1 large onion cut into quarters
Salt for seasoning. 
 
*If you are not up for making your own stock you can buy it ready made in all Spanish supermarkets and I recommend the stock made buy 'Aneto', but it actually works out cheaper and better to make it yourself.
 
Fideuá:
 
500g of Fideuá Pasta / Small thin elbow pasta (Fideua) or short thick noodles (Fideo Nº5). Personally I prefer the Fideo Nº5 but on this occasion the guests wantes the elbow Fideuá pasta  as shown below.
2 ripe tomatoes – peeled and grated with a cheese grater.
1 large onion finely diced
2tps of paprika powder
 
    
 
 
Uncooked Seafood:
 
4 large king size prawns 
8 medium sized scampi 
300g of small prawns 
200g of small squid
 
  
 
TIP: If you don’t like bits in your food remove the tentacles and the legs from the small prawns before cooking them otherwise you will be picking them out of your Fideuá while you eat, as they fall off when you cook them.
 
TIP: Cleaning the squid – slice the squid open lengthways and remove the cartilage back bone from inside, it comes away really easily and wash out the inside with cold water. Then chop up into pieces.
 
All together in Spain this won’t cost more than 12 euros, in the UK I’m not so sure, but it is not expensive seafood. Really you can add any shellfish to this dish such as mussels and more extravagant seafood if your budget permits such as carabineros/scarlet prawns.  But this is enough to make a fantastic and flavourful Fideuá. It really is a simple fool proof dish.
 
 
Making the Stock :
 
Fry the 300g of uncooked prawns (don’t remove anything from these prawns as they only contribute to the stock) in a deep source pan with the extra virgin olive oil until they are well cooked and the oil takes on a rich colour, be careful not to burn them, but squash the heads with a fork as you are cooking them, this will help release all the flavour, it sounds horrible but the taste is incredible. Now fill the pan with water and put in the rest of the ingredients, adding the wine once the stock is boiling and simmer for two and a half hours. Scoop off the foam that rises to the surface of the stock during the first half hour until no more appears, season with salt if necessary, and then once finished pass the stock through a fine sieve twice and put to one side. 
 
     
 
Preparing the Fideuá:
 
Add some olive oil to the paella pan or frying pan and fry all the seafood except the squid. Once browned, remove from the pan and put to one side. Add the diced onions and fry for a couple of minutes, add the grated tomato and fry for about 8-10 minutes until it starts to take a thicker consistency (the water has evaporated from the tomato), add the squid to the pan and cook for a few minutes, mix altogether and in the pan and make a small opening in the centre of the pan, there should be some olive oil in the middle, if not add a small dash of oil, let it heat up and pop in the paprika, move it very quickly with a spatula so it doesn’t stick for about 30 seconds then add a large soup ladle of hot stock and stir in, the stock must be very hot before adding it, so the paprika doesn’t burn.
 
   
  
 
 
Add the 500g of Fideuá pasta stir in and spread the pasta around the pan. Normally people would add all the stock to the pan and cross their figures the pasta doesn’t get over cooked. But this trick will deliver a perfect Fideuá every time. From this point onwards all you have to do is once the stock has almost evaporated, add another ladle or two of stock, move it all around with a large spoon and let it almost evaporate and then do it again. Keep doing this until the pasta is cooked and ready to eat. Add the stock little by little. When the pasta is almost cooked put the seafood back in and spread over the top of the pasta. Once the pasta is ready you want it to be left with hardly any stock, wet and moist, not liquid stock, don’t let it dry out completely though. When you remove it from the heat and let it sit for a couple minutes the final stock left over will reduce a little further and thicken as it cools slightly.
 
 
 
 
It is now ready to eat. Enjoy with a glass of white wine!


Like 3




3 Comments


Falcón said:
14 September 2018 @ 08:33

LOVE the fideuà, this also is one my favourite dish and with this recipe I be able to eat for lunch.
Excellent and super very good recipe.
LOVE,LOVE,LOVE,LOVE....


Goldilocks said:
15 September 2018 @ 08:14

Great recipe, Ian. Thank you!
Because I dislike most seafood I make this with small pieces of chicken and home-made chicken stock instead. Not traditional, I know, but the method of cooking the Fideuá is the important thing and it works just as well with different ingredients. I just thought I'd mention this in case any readers would like to experiment.....


anthomo16 said:
15 September 2018 @ 09:46

Thank you Ian will try this


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