Just about anyone with a vague knowledge of Spanish cuisine has heard of paella at this point. But what about fideua? This sister dish to paella is significantly harder to find in D.C. — but adventurous diners can track it down at Jaleo for the next two weeks.
Fideua Negra con Gambas is one of six dishes the group of restaurants is preparing for the 11th annual Paella Festival. The dish is a black "fideo" (or "noodle") paella featuring head-on shrimp, squid ink and cuttlefish, explains Jaleo's Research & Development Chef, Ramón Martínez. It's a dish prepared in the style of paella, but with thin pasta instead of rice. The dish is well known in the Catalonia region, though different areas use various styles of pasta to prepare the dish (areas to the south use a thinner pasta; some parts use a hollow pasta shape), he said.
"I think we're very unique to have that," said Martínez. Though the Fideua Negra will only be available at Jaleo during the two-week festival, the restaurant sometimes offers a fideo-style dish seasonally. It can be tough to find elsewhere. Estadio has never offered fideua (though it's a favorite dish of Estadio chef Haidar Karoum, and he's considered adding it to the mix). Taberna Del Alabardero has had it in the past, but it isn't currently on the menu, a spokeswoman says. Boqueria sometimes features the dish as a special, most recently on the restaurant's market menu with toasted noodles, lobster stock, squid ink, culttlefish, shrimp, clams and fava beans.
Jaleo's fideua is priced at $48 (the dish serves two to eight people depending on appetite) and is served with aioli. The Paella Festival kicks off tonight at Jaleo's Crystal City location with a big party (featuring the restaurant's giant paella pan in action).
· Paella Festival [Official Site]
· All Previous Jaleo Coverage [-EDC-]
[Photo: Missy Frederick/Eater.com]