If you like a good paella, you will love fideuà – essentially the Catalan version of paella made using short noodles instead of rice. It originated in Valencia but is now a firm favorite throughout Catalonia and you will see it on the menu in numerous restaurants all over Barcelona. Fideuà has humble beginnings as a hearty dish used to feed poor fishermen on board fishing boats as a way of using up seafood they were unable to sell in the market that day. Nowadays, it is a much more sophisticated dish using a variety of ingredients including herbs and spices such as saffron and lots of good quality fish.
Fideuà is bursting with flavor from the generous amount of fresh seafood, ladles of rich shellfish broth and garlicky aioli. Whilst it may sound a bit complex, it doesn’t require hours and hours of slaving away in the kitchen and is relatively cheap to make. This one-pot wonder is the perfect dish to serve at a dinner party if you want to impress friends!
Related article: Traditional Catalan recipe: Suquet de Peix
370 grams fideus noodles (or any thin pasta noodles you can find)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 250 grams prawns
- 600 grams squid (chopped into small pieces)
- 250 grams tomatoes (grated)
- 2 teaspoons 1½ tsp pimentón dulce
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 1 liter fish stock
- 400 grams mussels
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lemon (juice only)
- Allioli (to garnish)
Preheat the oven to 180° c. Place the fideus in a large roasting tin, cover with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix well. Toast the noodles for 10-12 minutes, turning them halfway through until they are golden brown. (This step can be done in advance.)
Gently heat the stock in a large saucepan and leave to simmer. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and add the cloves of garlic to infuse the oil with a smoky garlic flavor. When they are golden brown, remove the cloves from the pan and discard.
Add the prawns, cook for a minute or two until they are pink, remove from the pan and set aside for later. Add the squid to the pan and leave to cook for around 3 minutes.
Next, stir in the grated tomatoes and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes until thick and sticky. Add the pimentón dulce and saffron and mix well
Add the fideus and coat in the tomatoey mixture and then ladle in half of the stock. Carefully place the mussels around the pan and then pour in the remaining stock
Season with salt and pepper, then bring the pan to a boil and leave to bubble away for around 5 minutes. Add the prawns and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes
Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let it stand for 3-5 minutes. Ladle into individual bowls, garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a handful of parsley, add a generous dollop of alloili and enjoy!
Related article: Catalan recipes: tortilla española
Where to have good fideuà in Barcelona
Canet Sarrià is a great, traditional restaurant located in the swanky district of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. This venue is known for their expert cooking skills, offering which are arguably some of the best pasta dishes in the city. One of the dishes they are known for is their fideuà. Choose Canet Sarrià for your meal if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
Address: Carrer de Canet, 38
El Merendero de la Mari
El Merendero de la Mari is widely known in the city, having a stellar reputation. They offer a variety of traditional Spanish dishes, specializing in rice and pasta based dishes, which includes the famous paellas and fideuàs. El Merendero de la Mari is not exactly a cheap place to eat at but if you value the quality of the food, then you won’t mind paying a little bit more for an excellent culinary experience.
Address: Plaça de Pau Vila, 1
Located in the Barceloneta neighborhood, with beautiful views of Port Vell, Barceloneta is a restaurant that offers exquisite plates of rice and pasta, as well as fresh fish. Like El Merendero de la Mari, Barceloneta‘s prices are not the friendliest ones, but the quality of the dishes more than makes up for the extra cost.
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