Monday, 1 October 2012

MoFo Day 1: Fideua


 First day of my round the Med MoFo virtual culinary tour and we're in Spain. I have to admit that I've only been to Spain once, a few years ago when I visited a friend living in a beautiful old house by the beach near Santander on the northern coast of Spain. Carmen had lived in England and Kenya for much of her life, so very little of the food that we ate was Spanish in origin. So for this part of my MoFo journey, I've scoured websites and all of my cookbooks, looking for authentic recipes that I could adapt. 

Shimeji, pink and yellow oyster mushrooms
Fideua is a dish usually made with a vermicelli-like pasta and seafood. I found a recipe on the Vegetarian Times website  and then scoured the net for more authentic recipes so that I could  devise my own version using as many of the authentic ingredients as possible. One thing most of the recipes seemed to agree on was the use of saffron and paprika (either sweet paprika or smoked). I decided to replace the seafood with a combination of  smoked tofu, asparagus spears and an assortment of button, chestnut and wild mushrooms which I found at the supermarket. 

Most of the recipes I found called for the pasta to be fried in tablespoonfuls of olive oil before cooking the vegetables. I used a spray of light olive oil in my frying pan which made the final dish taste too greasy for my taste. Next time I would try dry-frying the pasta instead, which would certainly make it more Eat To Live-friendly. I used both sweet and smoked paprika which gave a yummy smoky fragrance combined with the sweetness of the saffron. I served it with a handful of salad greens and stringless green beans with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This made 2 generous portions, so there's plenty left for tomorrow's lunch.

Vegan Fideua

50 g angel-hair pasta
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 small red bell pepper, diced
75 g mushrooms - button, chestnut, wild, or a combination of all 3, sliced
75 g asparagus tips, chopped
75 g smoked tofu, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
pinch of saffron
pinch of sweet paprika
pinch of smoked paprika
1 cup of mushroom stock

Break the angel hair pasta in 5 cm (2 inch) pieces. Fry with a pinch of saffron strands in a couple of sprays of light olive oil until golden brown, taking care not to burn. Set aside on a plate lined with kitchen paper to remove oil. Add onion to the frying pan and saute in a small amount of the mushroom stock for around 3 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, tofu and bell pepper to the pan together with a pinch each of paprika and smoked paprika. Cook for 5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the diced tomatoes, remaining mushroom stock and pasta, cover and lower the heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, adding water as required. Add asparagus and half of the parsley, cover and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Put under the grill for a few minutes and grill for a further 3 minutes or so until the pasta is crisp on top. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve with lemon quarters.

Serves 2

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