One-Pot Wonders

Fideua Visca Barça

January 24, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 2-4
Author Notes

Think of this as a paella with noodles Catalan style -- it's a tribute to the city of Gaudi and FC Barcelona and the Ramblas. In a way, it’s a cousin of the bouillabaisse of Marseille. It’s cooked in an earthenware cazuela which in Catalan would be “cassola”. For now, I’m just using clams and fish fillet, but I’d be tempted to incorporate fresh snails in their shells to mimic the helmet sculptures in Gaudi’s Parc Guell should I ever track down a source for really good live ones.

This recipe calls for small clams and black cod, which, on the West Coast, masquerades under a number of names including sablefish. It’s less boney than the traditional rascasse of the Mediterranean, so you can purchase a simple, clean fillet. And it goes like this, road runner:

Test Kitchen Notes

Pierino has turned what is usually a very basic meatless side dish into a star entree with deep, smoky flavor. The toasting adds depth and texture to the pasta, the chorizo adds a luscious fattiness, and the clam juice steeped with saffron lends a brininess to the finished dish. You could stop there and be totally happy. But then, pierino has you add fresh clams and sablefish to really gild the lily. It all comes together for deeply satisfying and warming dish -- perfect for a rainy fall night. If you want to make cleanup quicker, you could easily streamline this dish into one pan by setting aside your sofrito and seared fish as you go along. —MGrace

What You'll Need
  • 1 sweet onions, chopped
  • 5 Tomatoes from a 14.5 oz can, drained and broken up by hand
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil, a light oil such as Columela or one made from arbequina olives*
  • 1 cup chicken or shellfish stock
  • Saffron threads (as many as you can afford)
  • 6 ounces fideo pasta in coils, slightly broken up
  • 6-10 small manila clams or cockles -- the smaller the better
  • 1 fillet of black cod cut into large pieces
  • 2 ounces garlic sausage or other semi-cured variety, such as chorizo bilbao
  • Sea salt as needed
  • Aioli, as condiment
  1. In a 12-inch skillet, begin your sofregit (soffrito in Italian) with the oil, garlic, and tomatoes. Hold this over a low flame while you heat your stock.
  2. Into your stock dissolve a generous pinch of saffron.
  3. In an earthenware cazuela or a heavy-bottomed skillet, bring some olive oil to something short of smoke point, like little ripples on the surface (you may want to do this over a flame tamer).
  4. Add the broken fideo noodles to the cazuela and just lightly color them with the oil. Add the sausage, followed by ladles of saffron-infused stock little by little until the pasta softens up. Then add in your sofregit (garlic-tomato mix).
  5. In a separate pan, sear the cut pieces of black cod in olive oil. Season while you go.
  6. Add the seared fish into the cazuela, followed by your nicely scrubbed clams and slap a lid on it. As soon as the clams are singing opera the dish is finished. Except for maybe some aioli.
  7. *Arbequina olives are tiny ones, typical of Catalonian olive oils. But they are also now being grown in California from imported tree stock and you can find some very nice, affordable oils domestically produced. California Olive Ranch is a reliable brand.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lastnightsdinner
  • dymnyno
  • testkitchenette
  • thirschfeld
  • pierino
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

6 Reviews

JBF O. January 15, 2017
I just made this using fresh spinach tagliolini. Instead of sausage I used njuga. I omitted the fish and the olives. It came together quickly and it was delicious!
lastnightsdinner January 25, 2011
I really need to break out of my fideo rut - I only ever make them like my grandma does, but this sounds amazing. And I'm a huge fan of black cod/sablefish. I wish it was more easily available around here.
dymnyno January 25, 2011
Beautiful!! You always take a slightly different path that is creative and stirs the imaginations! (pun intended)
testkitchenette January 25, 2011
You read my mind too, I love fideua! I had it for the first time when visiting my exchange student at his home in Alcoy. I brought home around 20 packages of the dried noodles (mom, grandma, and Joel's mother thought I was crazy). They looked like our macaroni noodles (the version I used). Your recipe looks wonderful!
thirschfeld January 24, 2011
you read my mind. I have been thinking fideua all week
pierino January 24, 2011
Well then, get on it Brother T. BTW I'm still surprised that your cholent wasn't at least an editors' pick in the lentil round. Seemed like they went with the exotic stuff.