Lobster Fideua

(As you can probably tell, I’m a little behind on blogging on all of my cooking while I was in Boston because we kind of cooked non-stop, but here goes my last post from my trip.)

My parents met in Spain and lived there for some time before I came along and, as a result, I grew up eating a lot of Spanish food. Paella was always our big special occasion meal, and my dad makes an amazing paella. Sometimes he likes to switch it up and make a Fideua, which is basically a paella made with noodles called fideos instead of rice. Fideos are short noodles that come in little nests and can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores:

We had my cousin Amy, her husband David, and their new baby James over for dinner on my last night in Boston and we decided to make Lobster Fideua for the occasion. Well, my dad really did the cooking and I did the picture taking. I have made a couple of paellas, but I haven’t mastered it like he has. It takes practice to get it perfect!

He started with a base recipe from The Food and Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas, but adapted it to use the types of seafood we wanted. We wanted to use lobster (because it was a special occasion!) and we supplemented that with shrimp, clams, and mussels. To boost the lobster flavor, he made a lobster stock instead of the fish stock that’s normally used. The recipe might look a little complicated, but the basic method is in the steps below. The detailed recipe follows.

1) Sauté the lobster tails and shrimp in a paella pan to par-cook and remove
2) Sauté a tomato mixture in the same pan
3) Add the noodles to the pan and sauté
4) Add fish/lobster stock that has been simmering with saffron
5) Cook for a few minutes on the stovetop and add the lobster, mussels, and clams
6) During the last few minutes of cooking in the oven, add back in the shrimp and lobster claw meat
7) Garnish with lemons and fresh chopped parsley

Note: We often make paellas on an outdoor grill, but it was actually too hot to cook outside that night so we put the paella pan over the stovetop and transferred to an oven. The recipe can easily be done on a grill, though.

Lobster Fideua

4 small lobsters
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled
1 lb. mussels
1 lb. clams
White wine
Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. cayenne
4 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
12 c. fish and lobster stock
Pinch of saffron
24 oz. fideos (two bags)
Fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

To prep the lobster, you will first need to kill them. I won’t go into detail about how to do that here, but there are some simple instructions here. Then, remove the tails and split them.

We used the claw meat in the Fideua and the rest of the shells to make the lobster stock. To make the stock, combine a cup of white wine and a about two quarts of water in a big pot and bring to a boil. Add the lobster claws and bodies to the pot. Remove the claws after about 10 minutes, take the meat out, and set aside for later. Simmer the rest of the contents in the pot for another 20 minutes and strain.

To prep the mussels and clams, soak them in cold water and a little bit of cornmeal and salt for about a half hour. This will help remove the sand.

Start by simmering 12 cups of fish stock with a large pinch of saffron. We used the lobster stock we made and added extra store-bought fish stock to make 12 cups.

Next, season the lobster tails with some salt and pepper and sauté in some olive oil over medium-high heat in the paella pan (and don’t skimp on the olive oil!). You really just want to par-cook them, so remove after a couple of minutes.

Season the shrimp and do the same thing. Shrimp don’t take long to cook, so they will probably be mostly cooked at this point.

Then, sauté the tomatoes, garlic, paprika, and cayenne for a few minutes. Add some more olive oil if needed.

Add the noodles, breaking up the nests as you add them. Saute them for a few minutes.

Add the stock and cook until the noodles are no longer soupy but some liquid remains.

Add the lobster tails, clams, and mussels on the top and transfer to a 350 degree oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and the remaining lobster meat during the last few minutes of cooking.

Garnish with some chopped fresh parsley. Done!

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