Far less famous around the world than Paella, but very similar, fideuà is, as I like to describe it to those who ask me, the noodles paella. The main ingredients, apart from noodles, are fish (monkfish, cuttlefish, etc.) and seafood such as prawns, Norway lobster, squid and clams. An authentic fish feast!
The broth, also, is coloured and flavoured by a bit of saffron.
Fideuà originated in Gandia, a coastal town in the Valencia region, it came to life by chance and also thanks to a bit of audacity! The story goes that a ship’s cook, making paella back in 1920, didn’t have enough rice to feed all the crew, so instead, he added noodles cut in half.
Nowadays, the short lengths of noodles used for fideuà are called fideus. They are cooked slowly in a paella pan (paellera), using various cooking methods. First of all, the noodles are slightly browned in olive oil and then simmered in a rich fish and shell-fish broth. Adding the fish stock bit by bit and not stirring too much are key, so that the fideus can slowly absorb the tasty broth. When the fideus are cooked through, they are baked in the oven for a few minutes to achieve a slightly crunchy top layer.
Although fideuà can be eaten at any time of year, it always makes me think of summer: sun, lunch after being at the beach, packed tables outside restaurants, the din of holidaymakers, tanned skin still peppered with sand, drinking sangria, and so many other memories.
Fideuà was one of my favourite main courses and one of the ones I most enjoyed cooking for my family and friends. When I switched to a gluten-free diet, however, fideuà became another dish on the black-list.
The idea of cooking a gluten-free version of fideuà didn’t come to me until I discovered sweet potato noodles, just a few months ago. But an idea was all it was, and one I decided not to put into practice, for fear of disappointment: I was afraid of those amazing flavours being simply nostalgia and so many memories.
But I did it. After about four years, I cooked fideuà.
gluten free noodles paella (fideua)
Far less famous around the world than Paella, but very similar, fideuà is the noodles paella. This is a gluten free version, made from sweet potato noodles and seafood. An authentic fish feast!
For the fideuà:
4 cups water
25 fresh mussels
160 grams raw prawns, unpeeled (keep shells for broth)
1 pinch saffron
2 tablespoons oil olive extra virgin
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon salt
150 grams sweet potato noodles, cut in about 2 inchs length (3 handful of fideus)
10 cooked prawns to decorate
For the garlic sauce (Alioli)
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
1 free-range egg
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pinch salt
- Turn the grill on.
- In a large saucepan, bring the water to the boil. Put in the mussels, cook covered with a lid for 2-3 minutes until shells open. Remove mussels from the saucepan, keeping the water for the broth. Cool mussels under cold water and set aside.
- Peel the prawns, and set aside. Then put the shells in to the saucepan with the water from cooking the mussels. Cook the broth on medium heat for 10 minutes, removing any scum that comes to the surface. Strain the broth, transfer to another saucepan or bowl and add the saffron, stirring to make sure the saffron disolves well into the broth.
- Then, heat the olive oil in the paellera over a medium heat, add in peppers, garlic, tomato puree and salt and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add in the fideus and stir quickly for 30 seconds, making sure they don’t burn, pour in the fish broth until it covers the fideus and then add the prawns. Turn heat to low and let simmer without stirring. When fideus have absorbed the broth, add another cup or so. (I needed 2 cups and half of broth)
- After 5 minutes, top with the mussels and the cooked prawns and simmer for 7 minutes more. Taste the noodles all the time as sweet potato noodles get overcooked very quickly.
- Then, turn the heat off and place the paellera in the oven. Grill for 5 minutes or until noodles are slightly crunchy. The time really depends on how crunchy you prefer fideus.
- Meanwhile, make the alioli sauce.
- Place the garlic, oil, egg and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Put the blade attachment down, touching the bowl and process until evenly combined, about 10 seconds. Then, continue processing, while, slowly, lifting the attachment up and down, until completly combined, about 2 minutes.
- Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and transfer the alioli sauce to a pot.
- Serve the fideua in individual dishes with a good spoonful of alioli sauce. Enjoy!
By Laura | Lau Sunday cooks