Not really Valencian paella.
Know the recipe of fideua from Gandia, Valencia.
What dish comes to mind when we talk about the Spanish cuisine? Paella, of course!
Today we will prepare another version of paella, in which, instead of rice, we add… pasta. It is called – fideua. I like this option as much as the traditional one. I will tell you about details of a successful cooking of fideua, so that your guests will be delighted. But first, a little bit about the history of fideua.
Fideua comes originally from Gandia, Valencian region (picture on the cover) and has since spread throughout the Valencian region. According to the Valencian Dictionary, fideua is “a dish cooked in a two-handled flat pan, made from curved thick noodles that are cooked in a fish broth until they get dry.” So why was rice replaced with pasta?
According to one of the legends, Fideua was born on board of the ship called “Santa Isabel”. When the time to prepare the meal came, the chef wanted to please the team with his culinary skills by cooking an exquisite seafood paella. After he carefully prepared all the ingredients, the last step was to add rice to the broth, when suddenly the chef discovered that there was no rice in the kitchen! The only thing that he found was spaghetti style thin noodles. So an inventive cook came up with the idea – add noodles to the broth and wait until all the liquid has evaporated, as in the traditional paella. The team liked a new culinary invention – it was a success!
Fideua has become very popular and since 1974 there has been an annual Gandía Fideuá Competition held in Gandia, which has even become known internationally. Fideua even got its own hymn called Fideuá de Gandía, as well as a poem called “El Collar y la Barca” (the necklace and the boat).
You can know more about the region of Valencia in Spain on this page.
To prepare seafood fideua, you can choose the ingredients of your taste. For example, the Spanish also add monkfish. I decided to add only seafood.
I purchased a special paella pan, but you can also cook it in a normal pan.
Fideua for 6 persons.
You will need:
- Fish broth – about 1 liter (I prepared steamed mussels, you can get an excellent broth from them)
- Pasta as on the photo (I have fideua ones), you can use short spaghetti (you must take into account their fast cooking time, all ingredients must be well cooked before adding the pasta to the broth)
- One red pepper (I didn’t have it, but it is essential)
- Half of a green pepper
- 3-4 skinless tomatoes
- 2 sepias (or squid)
- Clams (optional)
- Half a kilo of raw shrimps
- 1 kilo of fresh cooked mussels (or less)
- 6 prawns
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- A mixture of spices of your taste: paprika, saffron (I had paella spice mix)
- Olive oil
Let’s prepare the ingredients. Chop the vegetables and sepia (or squid) in small pieces, chop the garlic. Steam the mussels, separate the broth. Peel the shrimps, leaving the heads (cut off the part with the eyes and antennae with scissors). The whole aroma of shrimp is in the head. Wash the clams with a clear water.
- How to clean and steam mussels:
Clean mussels with a knife under cold running water, take off the green part with a rapid movement. Add one glass of water with a laurel leaf to a cooking pot, add 1 kilo of mussels. Boil until the mussels are open (about 5 min. maximum).
- If clams are fresh (alive), add them to a slightly salted water for 30 minutes, so they can release sand in them. Then wash them with clean cold water.
Fry the prawns on both sides until they get a lighter color (half cooked). Put aside.
Add olive oil and fry on low heat sepia while stirring constantly, until liquid evaporates. Put aside.
Fry onion on low heat until it is soft and brown.
Add the green and red pepper and fry on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add tomatoes and garlic. Simmer vegetables for another 10 minutes until they are soft.
Add half of the broth and spices. Mix well to distribute spices. Add sepia. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Careful with salt as seafood itself contains a lot of salt.
Add shrimps, clams and pasta. Mix gently to distribute well the ingredients. Add more broth, if needed, to barely cover the pasta.
Put the pre-fried prawns on top so that they get cooked with the rest of ingredients.
Cook on low heat until the broth has evaporated. It will take about 10 minutes. Add mussels, put a few shelled mussels on top for decoration. To make the fideua a little crispy, you can place the dish in a preheated to 200 degrees oven for 5 minutes.
- Serve fideua with lemon juice
- Fideua is best eaten fresh, don´t leave it for the next day.
- Prawns have a strong flavor, so it’s best to cook them on pan separately from the dish and put them on top at the end, otherwise fideua will get a strong prawn taste.