By Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
Today I am in the kitchen with executive chef Chris Hastings at OvenBird. Hastings is preparing a popular seafood fideos (Spanish for noodle—a short cut vermicelli) recipe. He and his wife, Idie, are also the owners of OvenBird and Hot and Hot Fish Club.
At OvenBird everything is cooked over a live fire, and food is served in small plate format, inspired by the live fire traditions of Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, and Argentina.
Fideos with Shellfish, Alabama Shrimp, and Aioli
5 cups fideos (thin pasta)
¾ cup chorizo, diced and rendered
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
15 shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 littleneck clams
¾ cup sofrito (see recipe below)
5 quarts seasoned fish stock, heated and with 1 pinch of saffron
1 ¼ cup English peas (if in season)
1 cup aioli
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, halved and seeded
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, cleaned and minced
Place olive oil and chorizo in a paella pan on low heat. Render chorizo and add pasta to toast for about 1 minute. Add sofrito, salt, and pepper. Next, add stock to cover by ½ inch. Turn the heat on medium high, and when it comes to a simmer, add the shrimp and let it cook for 1 minute. Turn shrimp. Add clams and mussels. When they open, add the English peas, and turn heat off. The pasta should be cooked al dente. Garnish with aioli, a grilled lemon half, and minced fresh parsley.
6 red bell pepper, minced
6 onions, minced
12 garlic cloves, minced
24 tomatoes, seeded, skin removed and diced
1 1/8 cup olive oil
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Pimenton de la vera*
2 pinches saffron
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place the bell pepper and onion in olive oil in a pan over medium heat and sweat them until they become translucent.** Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat until all of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are soft. Readjust seasoning with salt and pepper and cool.
*Editor’s note: You can substitute smoked paprika.
**Editor’s note: Sweating means the vegetables release moisture but not that they become brown.