Friday’s during Lent have always been a challenge for me. I’m a huge meat eater, and my days blur together so much, it’s often hard for me to remember when Friday even is.
For a culinary and hospitality professional this should be a delightful challenge! Well, Lent 2017 is when I decided to embrace my faith (even more) and indulge in Lenten Friday’s. After all, fasting is all about sacrifice. Lent is precisely the time when we should not let go of ourselves or our standards.
Truly one of the over looked glories of Catalan cuisine is the poor cousin of paella. Assembled from noodles and seafood, Fideuà has been sustaining Valencian fishermen, (and upper east side enthusiasts) for generations.
Like paella, fideuà should be cooked in a big paella pan. The recipe below works in a normal frying pan yielding no more than three people. It’s remarkably quick and so delicious.
1 Tsp Olive oil
2 C Fideo pasta
1 squid, chopped
10 Shrimp, peeled
2 Garlic cloves
2 Bell peppers; red, green or yellow.
1 Spanish onion
1 Tomato, finely chopped
1 tsp Saffron
1 tsp Salt, or to taste
1 tsp Fish stock or a cube
1) Heat about one-third of the olive oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat. Add the dried pasta and fry for about 5 minutes, or until it turns golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2) Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan, increase the heat and add the squid, shrimp and salt. Squid can be very temperamental as it releases a lot of water when you start cooking it, so it tends to explode in the pan. I recommend you hold a lid over the pan so the steam can still escape – and stand back. Give it a quick stir, half cover with the lid and leave to cook for a couple more minutes. Don’t scrape the bottom of the pan, as that sticky layer on the bottom is essential for making a rich stock.
3) Add the clams, garlic, peppers, onion and cook for another 5 minutes or until clam shells open. That will happen fairly quickly because of the high heat. Add the chopped tomato, saffron and stir constantly to dissolve the sticky bits on the bottom. This should take no longer than 2 minutes.
4) Add the fish stock or cube and 1 cup of water. Bring to boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the fried pasta. You need to use your judgement here – you need just enough water left in the pan for the pasta to cook and absorb all the remaining liquid. A good thin fideo pasta should cook in about 3 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cover the pan and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.