Fideua is a noodle based Catalonian preparation which is well-known for its opulence and elegance. There is a dispute regarding its place of origin; almost all regions of Spain have staked a claim for the dish, but it is considered a Valencian specialty. The dish is normally prepared by mixing thin fried noodles with boiling fish stock, and served with allioli sauce. The white-fleshed fishes such as crustaceans are usually used for preparing the stock. This dish is prepared in the same way as Paella and almost uses the same ingredients as the dish. The preparation is known by different names throughout the Catalan regions: Rossejat, Fideus rossejats (golden fried noodles), Fideuejat, Fideus in casserole are some of the popular names. The dish has, however, gained popularity as Fideua or Fideuada. Traditionally the dish is cooked in iron vessel.
The name Fideua is derived from the Catalan word fideu meaning noodles. This word has pro-Arab origins.
Origin of Fideua
Food historians claim that the dish was invented by a Spanish fisherman Juan Bautista Pascual Sanchís, who was on a fish trawler near the seas of Gandia or Denia in the year 1930. Juan, who was in the middle of sea, realized that he has brought vermicelli but forgotten the rice. Then he decided to mix the noodles with sofrito, fish, seafood and fish broth. The result was an amazing dish, which was later called Fideua. It went on to become most distinguished national food of Valencia.
There is another theory that the dish was invented in the Gandian seas in 60s by some unknown fisherman.
Fideua Recipe- Ingredients Prescribed and Preparation Process
Following the traditional recipe of Fideua, ingredients like onion, tomato, olive oil, salt, water and fish like conger eel, rockfish, fry, etc., are combined in unique proportions to cook the broth. The main dish is prepared by combining ingredients like vermicelli, prawns, monkfish, squid, tomato, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and chili. The dish is finalized by mixing the broth with Fideua as per the requirements of Fideua recipe. The noodles are fried to golden brown and added to the fish broth. The fried noodles are called rossejat and the dish is served in two series. The dish from Safor shire, where it was born, was normally eaten on boats and cooked on casserole.
Fideua Recipe- Variations
Some minor variations in the recipe of Fideua are observed in Gandia where the dish is cooked using thick noodles (with hole inside).
The Gandian recipe is much like the Paella, the only difference being that noodles are used in place of rice. The fish stock is the determining factor of the Fideuada. Normally fresh fish is used in the preparation of the stock.
Eating and Serving Fideua
Fideua is extremely adaptable when it comes to pairing with wine. Normally, white wines like Albarino, Viura, Godello, Garnacha Blanca or Campo de Borja are paired with the dish.