Tag Archives: fideo

Paella? No: Fideo! Learn a very hip dish…

IMG_3096Ingredients list:

  • garlic, 2 cloves
  • parsley, a small bouquet
  • fideo no1 (also called vermicelli) 200g
  • 3 small tomatoes
  • 1 courgette
  • chopped mushrooms, a handful
  • onion, 1 small
  • veg stock, 400ml
  • cumin and safron, 1 Tbsp
  • Paprika, 1 tsp
  • A handful of frozen mussels or prawns or a handful of butter beans – if you want to keep it  veggy.

Today I am revisiting an ingredient used last year as Black Vermicelli and this time I use the normal version, available at Spanish delis or specialised gourmet shops . It is worth hunting for because it produces a super dish in minutes. The French mostly put “fideo” in soups but the Spanish use it to do a quick and tasty version of the ubiquitous paella. Choose the Fideo number one for the thinner quality.

Start by toasting the fideo in a shallow frying pan with a bit of olive oil. If you can, use a pan that can also go into the oven. When the Fideo turns brown, reserve in a bowl.

Make a Spanish “sofrito” with the onion, garlic and parsley all chopped up. Fry it in the same pan.

Add the tomatoes chopped up, the courgette, mushrooms and paprika, cumin and a pinch of saffron. Cook and move about a little until the mix soften and add enough tomatoes to make a thick sauce – you can use a half tin of chopped tomatoes if easier! No harm in cutting corners, is there?!IMG_3097

Add the noodles  underneath the veg if you can, by pulling them up with a spatula.

Pour the warm stock in. Allow to cook on slowly until all the liquid is absorbed – do not cover. It will take less than 15/20 min. A few minutes before the end, you can add a few frozen prawns or mussels to jazz it up but you really don’t have to.

Just before serving – if your pan allows- put the dish under the grill and get a crispy top in 4/5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

IMG_3102This is a delicious last minute dish! Most of it is pulled out of a cupboard or freezer. But with the addition of a few fresh vegetables, you can produce a very healthy lunch. Customise according to what you have and it is great every time… The version on the picture  above had butter beans, red peppers and aubergines, for example.

Fideo is very popular around Alicante and gets used in all sorts of wonderfully tasty variations: Once the basics are there, nothing should stop you improvising. Having fun in the kitchen is a great reason to cook! Maybe the only one…

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Black vermicelli with seafood and aïoli sauce

Black ink vermicelli with shrimps and aioli sauce

I did not use to like pasta until I started experimenting with all the funky varieties that exist beyond your run of the mill spaghettis and raviolis… This recipe is brilliant with Squid ink vermicelli but if you can only find the normal golden wheat ones, it works just as well. I do love taking back ingredients from my travels and using them at home.  I first tasted these Fideo pasta last summer in Spain and fell entranced with their subtle taste and beautifully graphic licorice look! It makes a very striking contrast with the pink shrimps and the green of the vegetables. 

The point of pasta is that it is healthy and quick and with the method described below it is even quicker than ever and you get a lovely “al-dente” finish. The principle is a bit like a paella and a risotto where you add your stock as you go along and so never overcook.

Ingredients list:

  • Fideo or vermicelli pasta with squid ink
  • Onion, 1
  • Handful of frozen shrimps
  • Handful of frozen prawns
  • Tamari sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Handful of frozen garden peas

For the aïoli:

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Egg yolk, 1
  • Olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Drop of lemon juice
Fry 1 chopped onion in a spoonful of oil.

Add a big handful of frozen or fresh shrimps and let it reduce.

Season with 1 Tbsp of tamari sauce towards the end and reserve into a container.

Throw a handful of frozen or fresh peas and cook them in the same skillet until tender – Shouldn’t take long.

Reserve with the shrimps.
Fry a handful of Fideo again in the same skillet with 1 tsp of rapeseed oil for 3 to 5 minutes. Reserve on a plate for decoration later- it adds a lovely crunch to the dish.

Throw the rest of Fideo in the hot pan.

Add a glass of water and let it bubble until it is all absorbed. If necessary, add another glass or two until the Fideo pasta is cooked but just “al dente”- this is a bit like cooking up a risotto: You have to judge for yourself and adjust the cooking liquid according to your pasta type and your own taste.

Soak some sea vegetables (Wakame from Japanese or health shops is a good option).

Make the aioli sauce by crushing three cloves of garlic, then adding one fresh egg yolk and some lemon juice into a mixer blender. Slowly add a generous glug of olive oil but no more than 100 ml: It is ready when it reaches mayonnaise texture but unlike Mayo, it is positively impossible to screw up!

Dress with the shrimps sauce, chopped Wakame and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. Decorate with walnut size blobs of aioli and serve at room temperature.

Add more Tamari if necessary.

Food needs to be fun and beautiful to entice us and it is scientifically proven that variety and novelty increase our appetite. Serve this on red lacquered chinese plates if you can.


Fideua pasta with squid ink