Andalusia has its Paella, but Catalonia has its Fiduea, made similarly, one with rice and the other with vermicelli. It is a local culinary star that has spread to most Spanish seaside localities, because Fideuà is topped with seafood; no rabbit or chorizo here. Nor is it a poor relative to paella, for me it can stand shoulder-to-shoulder. They share the same cooking vessel, the sofregit, and a healthy pinch of prized saffron threads, unless you are using squid ink. I love it and often make it often with fresh seafood. It is key to make a flavorful and complex stock from shrimp shells, clams and fish heads. Another item they share is that dollop of alioli. Fideuà gets its name from the word fideos, this is the small vermicelli-type noodle that replaces the rice.
Barcelona is blessed with having the best Tapas bars, where I could eat every day, but some days the seaside neighborhood of Barceloneta calls out for lunch by the sea and salty air. Here in the old fishing barrio, you can find Fideuà with rich saffron laced stock, nutty noodles and plump chunks of seafood hiding in that crusty top and edges. A sure sign that you are having the authentic “must eat” will be portion for two and more than likely you must order in advance when you call for a reservation. To go with it, order a bottle of local Cava from neighboring Penedès and call it a true tradition.
Catalonia is a land steeped in winemaking tradition. With its proximity to the port of Barcelona less than an hour away, Penedès is a leading exporter of Catalan wine. The Mediterranean climate, varied landscape, and mixture of soils lend great diversity to the spirits in the area, almost all bottles of Cava hail from this region plus it is recognized as the birthplace of Cava. Dating back to the 7th century BC, the first vines to grow in this northeastern corner of Spain were planted in the region of Penedès. Additionally, Cava and Penedès are both protected under the Spanish Designation of Origin.
There is nothing better than fideua made with the freshest seafood in town. Like with Paella, it has to have the crunchy bits…on the edges as it is cooked in a wide flat pan. No soggy noodles, please. Try your hand!
Fideuà Marisco Catalana
· 8 Ounces 1 mm Fideuà / Vermicelli cut into 1” pieces
· 1/2 Medium Red Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into strips
· 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
· 1 Small Onion, Diced
· 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
· 1/2 LB Clams or Mussels
· 1/2 LB Medium Shrimp
· 1/2 LB Fresh or Thawed Seafood Chunks (Fish, Scallops, Squid)
· 4 Ounces Crushed Tomatoes
· 4 Cups Seafood Stock
· 1 Teaspoon Sweet Paprika
· 1 Pinch Saffron
· 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
· 2 Tablespoons Butter
· Lemon Wedges, Chopped Parsley or Cilantro, As a garnish
Aioli Sauce Ingredients
· 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise bought or homemade
· 2 Cloves Garlic - Crusted
· 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
· Salt and Pepper to Taste
· 1 Pinch Saffron,