Like many other dishes, the invention of the fideuá is attributed to an “accident”, or in this case, rather to an anecdote starring two Valencian sailors (from Gandia specifically) around 1930. The ship’s cook, known as “Gabrielo”, knowing the devotion of the boat’s patron for the rice that he usually cooked, decided to prepare the same recipe one day but replacing the rice with noodles, to try so that “Zábalo” did not hoard so much food, so that it could reach the rest of the sailors.
In the end, far from its purpose, what the chef got was to popularize the invention, whose fame was spreading through the restaurants of the Levante, also arriving very soon to Ibiza and the Balearic Islands, and becoming over the years an essential dish of the Mediterranean coast.
There are many who in recent years have signed up to the Fideuá, and prefer it to the paella. The truth is that it is a dish that has become very popular now, gaining ground that has always been considered the Mediterranean dish par excellence. It’s often cooked at home, but served at the restaurants as well.
Like this one, it can be prepared in many different ways, although the base is noodles, fish (you can put rockfish, monkfish, cuttlefish, squid …) and seafood (galleys, prawns, crayfish …). Like the paella, it is made in the pan also called paella, that is to say in a wide and flat metal pan, although there are other traditional variants made in casserole.
I prefer traditional ways, so I made it in paella 🙂 Also, so be totally honest with you, I made the version with squid and shrimps only, because that’s the only seafood that I love.
You may add any fish or shellfish you like – experiment and see what works the best for you.
Also, you can use a tick hollow pasta or “angel hair” fideua pasta. I used the latter, since that was the one used by my landlady in Sagunto and I loved it. That was my first encounter with this dish as well. So, I stick with “angel hair” .
You can make your own fish stock if you like, but since here in Spain, they have some really good ready made I just buy them – makes it easier too 🙂
Also, traditional recipes call for fresh chopped tomato – but since I fell in love with Mercadona’s Tomate Frito Receta Artesana, I hardly ever use fresh tomato for cooking.
In the end, like with any other recipe: Experiment, experiment and experiment – till you find what you like the most!