Fideuà is a dish that is similar in most ways to Paella, but instead, uses fine short pasta (called fideo) instead of rice. The difference is a lighter texture with some deep nuttiness from the toasted pasta. This dish can be made more simply just by using seafood stock instead of making your own, but let’s be honest; I have a tendency to go a bit overboard. All you need to make this dish sing is a nice pinch of good saffron and a heap of our succulent Black Label mussels. Is your pan too large for your stove burners? Try cooking it on the grill!
2# Black Label Mussels
500g Fideo pasta (or broken up angel hair)
1 1.5# lobster, raw and in shell, claws and tail separated from the body
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 lemon, sliced
Yellow mustard seed
1 Vidalia onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1c. dry white wine
½ t. sweet smoked paprika (Pimentón)
1 c. yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved and blistered
1/2c. cooked peas
1 c. asparagus, blanched and sliced
Lemons, cut into wedges
Aioli/ garlic mayonnaise (optional)
Coat the Fideo in a tablespoon of olive oil and toast until golden brown (think the color of corn flakes) at 350F. Set aside to cool. Pro tip: line your baking sheet with foil so its easier to transfer the noodles directly into the pan without mess. (See picture for color reference.)
Put all of the ingredients from the lobster to the mustard seed in a marge pot and just cover with water. Bring to a simmer, not a boil, and remove the claws and tail of the lobster as the shell turns bright red and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking – the body should remain in the pot. Continue to simmer the rest of the broth for about 45 minutes or until fragrant. Take off the heat and strain the liquid. Add the saffron to the liquid and set aside. This will be the cooking broth, which should yield about a quart to a quart and a half – you may not need all of it. Shuck the lobster meat and chop into 1-inch chunks (and don’t eat half of it before putting it in the dish like I did).
In a wide bottomed shallow skillet (I used an inexpensive 16in. paella pan), soften the onion and garlic with a tablespoon of olive oil. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by a half. Add in the pasta and Pimentón and stir. Cover with the reserved broth and arrange the mussels on top along with the blistered tomatoes. As the liquid starts to simmer, sprinkle in the peas and asparagus, along with the lobster chinks. Cook until the pan is just about dry as the goal is to have a browned and crispy bottom without burning the pasta.
Remove from heat, garnish with parsley. Serve it immediately with lemon wedges and aioli (optional).