Hey y’all! Summer is so close to being over. I am trying to soak it all in because I know that soon enough I won’t be able to slurp mussels outside with a cold beer while the sunsets on a perfect 80 degree day. I’m going to be freezing and probably shoving as many hot, decadent, winter dishes in my mouth as possible to fight off the unforgiving New York City winters.
So what better than to cook up some mussels, cockles, and shrimp for an August supper? I started out wanting to make a paella. Until my a lovely friend by the name of John asked, “Well do you have a paella pan?” Look if you haven’t figured this out, I live in a tiny kitchen. You’d laugh if you saw it. Ain’t nobody have room for a paella pan except for a paella making fiend. So I, of course, said “No” and then John explained the importance of a paella pan for newbie paella maker.
Okay fine, maybe sometime when I’m feeling more adventurous, I’ll try my luck without the pan. I wanted to make something similar though. In comes the Catalan dish of fideua! Of course, mines a bit remixed.
Some information about Fideua: Fideua is a classic dish from the Valencia area. It’s basically paella, but with noodles. Created around the 1920s. You technically need a big flat pan, but I decided to give it my best go in a medium sized pan… It worked! It was a tight squeeze, but again I’m used to tight squeezes. NYC y’all!So, of course, I had to spin this. Some changes that were made to my fideua: 1. I used thicker noodles. Yes, I know that sacrilege, but I like my noodles. And tagliatelle is so pretty! … which basically make it more of a noodle paella because I dropped the fideua noodles 2. Instead of the adding tomato paste, I added (my favorite pantry staple) gochujang. Everyone needs an extra kick to their dinner. Spicy food and summer vibes are what makes the world go round!
Some things to really remember about this dish is, give yourself time. You’re going to need at least 45 minutes for the broth alone. Think about broth, the longer you let meat and spices sit the better your broth, right? Yes! So give yourself about an hour and a half to two hours to make this. Tell your friend, significant other, family, whatever to eat a snack.
GOCHUJANG MUSSEL NOODLE PAELLA
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lb small shrimp, shell on
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
pinch of chili powder
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1 large bay leaf
3-4 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
2 tbsp gochujang sauce
3 large clams
1/2 lb mussels
3/4 pound tagliatelle noodles (dry)
extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of saffron in 1/4 c water
1/2 lb mussels, cleaned for garnish
3 tbsp chopped parsley
Allioli, for garnish (easy recipe here)
1. To make the broth: Put 3 tbsp olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until softened and lightly browned, 8-10 minutes.
2. Add small shrimp, garlic, chili powder, fennel, coriander, bay leaf, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Stir in gochujang and cook for 4 minutes, until mixture looks slightly dry. Add clams, mussels, and 8 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
4. While the broth is cooking, heat oven to 375 degrees. Put noodles on a large baking sheet. Evenly pour 2 tablespoons olive oil over noodles and toss with hands to coat. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, turning with tongs if necessary, until noodles are golden brown.
5. Strain mixture through a sturdy mesh sieve into another pot. Keep all opened mussels, cockles, and shrimp over low heat. Keep strained broth hot. Check broth for taste. This should be well salted.
6. Place a wide pot on the stove. Add toasted noodles, pressing down a bit to flatten with a wooden spoon. Ladle 3 cups of hot broth over noodles and bring to a boil. Push down the noodles with your wooden spoon as they soften into the broth.
7. Add saffron water and cook for a minute. Stir to mix. Add the rest of the broth to cover pasta. Remember, this is not soup, it will be soupy but you don’t want to overwhelm the noodles with the broth. Just slightly cover the pasta. Lower heat and cook at a simmer for 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. If your both does not cover the pasta, add additional water, 1/2 cup at a time.
8. Add remaining uncooked mussels and cockles to the noodles and broth. Push the shellfish down until submerged. Cook until shells open (about 4 minutes). Turn off heat. The noodles should me firm. The entire dish will be like a noodle soup. Yum! Combine seafood the rest of the mussels, cockles, and shrimp to dish.
9. Ladle into individual soup bowls. Add parsley and allioli to garnish.
And just like that you’ve got a really great dinner. Share as you see fit. I don’t blame you if you don’t share though.