Do you remember that paella pan you received for Christmas last year? The one that’s been collecting dust in your closet since you used it that time? We have another dish to use this pan, and that gives any paella a run for its money. Meet fideos, the Spanish pasta that you have missed all your life.
Cooked in the same way as paella, fideos is made with pieces of thin, broken pasta that are toasted in a pan and then simmered in seafood broth until the liquid evaporates completely and a crispy crust forms at the bottom (see recipe ). Think of it as the underrated cousin of paella.
Since Ken Oringer, co-chef and owner of Toro in New York and Boston, introduced us to the dish during a Facebook Live shoot in our Test Kitchen, we can’t stop talking about it.
“The first time I tasted fideos was in Barceloneta (an old fishing district in Barcelona), âOringer tells us. âI couldn’t believe that anything could have such intensity of flavor without having the whimsical fanfare of paella. Just the shellfish broth, noodles, aioli and fresh seafood. A sort of Spanish version of bouillabaisse with noodles, which made it really comforting. “
The best part about this dish is how adaptable it is in terms of toppings. Traditionally, you’ll find it filled with various seafood and sausages, but the combinations vary by region. A common element is to garnish with spoonfuls of aioli on top, Oringer’s favorite part. The hint of creaminess balances out the intense flavor of everything underneath.
Instead of meat or seafood, Oringer’s recipe focuses on vegetables. He packs spring veg like giant white asparagus, green almonds and morels in pasta, simmering everything in a combination of lobster and chicken broth.
âSpring is every chef’s favorite cooking season. We go through very long winters and you always wait for something green to show up in the markets, so we can start cooking something a little more. lighter, more refreshing and more lively. ” Oringer explains.
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Giant white asparagus add crunch to the dish, morels add meaty earth and green almonds add a touch of green acidity. You get a little bit of everything in each bite and the underlying flavors of the broth tie it all together, keeping you coming back for more. By wrapping all your toppings in this pasta, it’s a main course that can stand on its own without a side. Still, Oringer suggests starting with a little ham and chorizo ââto start the party.
To finish your fideos education, we’ve put together Oringer’s top tips for ensuring success whether you’re skilled at the task or doing it for the first time.
1. Start with a sturdy paella pan. An ultra-thin paella pan will get hotter than you want and you risk scorching the pasta instead of forming a crisp, caramelized crust.
2. Precook some of your meats and side dishes. Fideos itself cooks fairly quickly (about eight minutes), so make sure your entire set-up is ready and cooked ahead of time. This way you won’t overcook the noodles.
3. Be creative. Oringer encourages you to make your own combos, whether it’s ramen broth, canned sardines, or whatever else you have on hand. “Error on the side of flavor, not caution,” he says.