The first time I had fideos was at Jaleo in Washington D.C over 3 years ago. Those little worm-sized noodles were incredible – just like pretty much everything else on the menu – and I’ve been wanting to enjoy them again ever since. Sadly, San Francisco lacks a Jaleo. You can imagine how stoked I was when I found dry fideos at the Middle Eastern market just down the block from us for $1.49! I figured they were one of those specialty import products that sell for $13 at Williams Sonoma, but no. Hurray! I poked around on the internet for recipes and combined two (one from Jose Andres and one from Mario Batali) for this meal.
Fideos with Mussels and Shrimp
1 lb fideos
1/4 c olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1-16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 quart vegetable stock
1 t spanish paprika
1 bottle clam juice
1 cup white wine
1 pinch saffron,
1 bay leaf
1 lb mussels, rinsed and debearded
1/2 lb shrimp
In a dutch oven, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add dry fideos and brown over medium heat until golden. Remove fideos from pot and set aside.
In the same pot, heat a bit more olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrot and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add can of crushed tomatoes and the paprika and turn the heat up to high. Cook for another 20 minutes to reduce the mixture, stirring often. I’m pretty sure this is called a sofrito.
In a large stockpot heat stock, clam juice, wine, bay leaf and saffron. Add shellfish and cook until the mussels open and shrimp are opaque, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, pick out seafood and set aside. Add this seafood broth to the sofrito. Add the fideos. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes until the noodles are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the seafood back into the mix. Top with parsley and a squirt of lemon to serve.
When I had this dish at Jaleo, the noodles had a delightfully crispy top crust. I’m pretty certain you could attain this under the broiler for a few minutes, but we were starving after a long day at the office and so we just dug in!