Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rossejat de Fideus

It is 11 november and I went swimming today. I jumped into a crystal clear sea that was more like a lake than a sea so flat it was. But I didn’t go to the beach to swim, that was a by-product. I went to the beach cos I had discovered a b.log that I liked. I liked a lot. Discovering a good b.log doesn’t generally mean that I have to rush to the sea but in this case the weather was so good, the recipe looked perfect and I had all the ingredients, so off to the beach I went to make Rossejat de Fideus – a catalan toasted noodle dish. A dish I have heard about, read about, but never eaten.

To my delight I discover that the blog is catalan based, the photography is good and most imortantly – the recipe I first came across is Allioli EXACTLY as I make it. So it had to be good. That sounds big headed cos it is, but I can be forgiven cos the stuff that I see being passed off as allioli is so shit that it beggars belief.

My first experience of allioli in Ibiza was through the ‘chef’ at Sol d’en Serra years ago when I first arrived. That place is now as far removed from what it was then as the allioli she showed me how to make is from real allioli. If someone was to have asked me what I thought was in the pot she put on the table in front of me I would have said without hesitation – Dulux White Emulsion. “Mais madame, qu’est que c’est this shit you put in front of me?” I asked her how on earth she made it and she took me into the kitchen. She put two cloves of peeled garlic, a pinch of salt and ¼ a litre of milk. (YES MILK!!!!!!!!!!!! GODDAMIT MILK), into a whizzer jug and then started pouring VEGETABLE OIL, I SWEAR, VEGETABLE OIL in to make the emulsion. The result? Dulux.

I have almost certainly written about this fiasco before but it pisses me off so much that every time I think about it I start flipping out. Going to a restaurant with yours truly on this island is a depressing thing cos I am invariably in a foul mood before I have even ordered – “ah look, here come some paying customers. Lets piss them of by serving them this travesty.” I go on and on about is cos it is fundamental.

Enough. Sorry. But I mean really….ok ok.

Anyway this b.log does it right. I start to look at other recipes and come across this Arrosejat and think “aha, so that’s how you make it.” I gather the ingredients and the photographer and take off for my favourite beach.

The beach is deserted. We get butt nekkid, set up and start cooking.

300g No2 Fideus – El Gallo brand, this is spanish pasta like broken spaghetti
800 ml fish stock (this is double the volume of the fideus)
4 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1 chilli
a nice amount of chopped parsley
A goodly amount of olive oil

Firstly and weirdly, toast the fideus in plenty of olive oil. They will become translucent and go reddish brown. Add the garlic, tomato and parsley and fry till the tomato softens. I say weirdly before cos I would ordinarily make the sofrito first then add the fideus. Add the boiling stock and cook as quickly as possible. Once the liquid has been absorbed keep on cooking it until the pan is making the most enticing crackling sound and you are convinced that if you leave it one second longer it will burn. What you are trying to achieve is soccarat. Soccarat again? What is this goddam soccarat? Hmmm. Socarrat like a little bit of crispy heaven. Yeah.

Take it off the heat and let it rest for five minutes whilst you make the allioli. Properly.

This was good but I gonna try it different next time. Next time gonna make the sofrito primero.