Fideuá, a Valencia specialty, is a sort of seafood paella made with fideos (very thin short noodles) instead of rice. The dish is prepared in a paella pan very much the same way as its better-known relative. I typically use a pan 13.5 inch in diameter. Fideos come in various thicknesses (rated 0 to 4) and can be obtained in Spanish specialty stores. If you cannot find Spanish fideos, you can always use vermicelli noodles broken into small pieces. The dish is typically served with alioli, a creamy garlic mayonnaise that really adds a nice touch to the dish. I’ve provided a recipe for a Lemon Herb Alioli below. If you are short on time, there are some very good store-bought aliolis on the market that will go well with this recipe.
6 cups of fish stock
A generous pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
12 jumbo shrimp
12 small scallops
4 cleaned baby squid bodies cut into rings
½ onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup chopped tomatoes, drained of liquid
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Spanish mild paprika (pimentón dulce)
1 pound fideos (size 2)or vermicelli nests or broken into 1-1.5 inch pieces
12 mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
12 clams, rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
6 lemon wedges
1 ½ cups alioli for serving (store bought or see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. As soon as the stock has come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the crumbled saffron threads.
Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a 13-15-inch paella pan. As the oil heats up, season the shrimp, scallops and baby squid rings with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for about one minute on each side, or until pink. Transfer to a large plate and set aside. Add the scallops and cook for about one minute on each side, or until lightly seared. Remove from the pan and add to the reserved shrimp. Add the squid rings and stir while cooking for about three minutes. Remove form the pan and add to shrimp and scallops.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and add the onions. Sauté the onions for about 4 minutes or until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute. Add the tomatoes, peppers, Spanish paprika, and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for about 7-10 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated.
Add the fideos or vermicelli and ensure they are well coated with the tomato sauce. Add warm stock to the pan and ensure the fideos are evenly distributed throughout. Add the mussels and clams and allow to cook for about two minutes before arranging the cooked seafood on top. Cook for another two minutes or until the mussels open up.
Transfer the pan to the top rack of the oven for about 3-5 minutes. The fideos will get slightly crunchy. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top, garnish with the lemon wedges and serve with the aioli.
For the Lemon Herb Aioli
2 large egg yolks, beaten until frothy
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 ¼ cups neutral-flavored oil (grapeseed or canola)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tarragon, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Vigorously whisk together the beaten egg yolks, mustard, garlic, lemon juice and vinegar for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Pour the oils into a 2-cup measuring cup with a spout. Whisking constantly and briskly, add the oil in a slow steady stream. (When you have obtained a smooth, well-blended consistency, add the dill and tarragon and mix gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.