In the Costa Blanca and wider Valencia region, Paella is ubiquitous. Whilst synonymous with Spain, Valencia is where the dish originates. So if you’re anywhere in Valencia, trying paella is a must. But what if you don’t like rice? There is a dish you can find that features tasty shellfish and the saffron flavours of a paella called Fideua. And instead of rice, it’s made with noodles.
Fideua, a noodle Paella
Cooked in a paella pan like a normal paella, it has many of the same ingredients but uses a type of noodle like vermicelli in place of rice. Like rice paellas, the noodle does a good job of soaking up the flavours that it’s cooked with but is less stodgy and is an excellent option for a lighter meal. This is because the type of rice used in paellas are especially starchy.
And like a normal paella, fideua is served still in the pan. It also serves a minimum of two people depending on the size of the paella pan.
We tried the Fideua at Restaurante Almadraba in El Campello, one of the quieter beaches on the Costa Blanca. It featured langoustines, mussels and prawns. And it was delicious!
If you’re good in the kitchen and fancy making it yourself, El Campello is one of the best places around here to get fresh fish.You can find out more about it in: Fresh fish auction at El Campello fish market.
Restaurante Almadraba, El Campello
As fideua is a little lighter than a typical paella dish, we figured it was a good reason as any to order a couple of other dishes!
Here they are:
The first is a roast pepper and fresh cheese salad. Fresh cheese (queso fresco in Spanish) is a popular cheese in Spain. It’s light, creamy and a little crumbly like feta but without the intensity in taste. The cheese’s lightness worked well with the sweet roasted peppers and saltiness of the anchovies that were also in the salad.
We also shared a plate of octopus cooked in a Galician style (served with paprika, sea salt and lashings of olive oil). If you’ve never tried octopus before, the Spanish coast is a great place to try it. Seriously, it’s delicious! And this was just that. I tried my best not to eat all the bread in the basket but don’t underestimate how difficult this is when all you want to do is soak up all that octopus and olive oil juice!
A digestive to finish
Afterwards, we decided to do as the locals do and enjoy a digestivo. We had orujo and limoncello. For those of you not familiar with orujo, it’s a Spanish liquor that’s very much like the Italian grappa. If you like your drinks strong (or like grappa!), you’d probably like an orujo. Alternatively, limoncello, which is sweeter is generally also available.
El Campello is a quiet and calmer seaside and fishing town in the Costa Blanca. It’s easily accessible via the N-332, which is one of the main motorways along the Costa Blanca. Just look out for signs to El Campello. There is a public car park very close to the beach on the north end near the marina and fish market.
More El Campello posts from the blog: