Fideuà has become one of the most popular meals in Catalonia. It is based in fried thin noodles, boiled with fish broth and served with ‘allioli’. Its origin is supposed to be valencian –due to its wrong orthography, coming from the common pronunciation of catalan in Valencia (it should be written ‘fideuada’) but completely different to the original meal.
The ‘fideuà’ cooked in Catalonia, at home, restaurants and popular meals is, in fact, another dish: it comes from the traditional fishermen rossejat (fried noodles) known also as blond noodles, noodles aside (in the Valencian Country, pistonat – if it is made with pistons, noodles with holes inside), etc. These names come from the way they are cooked. Noodles are fried in oil before adding fish broth – a very special technique that may only be found in Italy or China; noodles get a tan golden color or even dark, since they are fine noodles (hair of angel), when coming off dry, they get erected (they “have” an erection).
The origin of this dish also comes from the one named fideus a banda (noodles aside): fishermen used to cook a fish broth with small fish, sometimes with some vegetable (potatoes, etc); the fish was served stew, accompanied with allioli (garlic mayonnaise) (or, “salmorreta”, tomato sauce and vinegar in the Valencian Country) and only at the end rossejat was cooked. That is to say, as it is done with rice, the dish was served in two series, “aside”.
In its fishermen origins, Fideuada from the Safor shire- where it comes from – was eaten on boats and, therefore, was cooked in casserole; it was eaten, how the Vilanova fishermen used to do, in a bowl. There is also a plausible theory standing that this dish was invented on 60’s in Gandia, Valencian Country. Fideuada, as stated, belongs to the family of a dish that may be found with different names all along Catalan Countries: Fideuejat, Rossejat, Fideus rossejats, Fideus in casserole, etc. The Fideuada or Fideuà (popular pronunciation) has attained a huge success. All versions are currently being cooked in an iron pan.
Anyway, the authentic Fideuà (from Gandia) always uses thick noodles (with a hole inside), fish and shellfish (shrimps, monk-fish, Mediterranean mussels, etc) so it is like a usual fishermen paella where rice has been substituted with noodles: so quite different from what “fideuà” means in Catalonia.
The name of Fideuà comes from fideu (noodle in Catalan), an autochtonous format of pasta documented since the 14th century; this word, with a pro-Arab origin, spread through the Catalan to Occitan, the Franco-Provençal one, and even to Italian and Sard (the word is still used in Sardinia) or Spanish.
Video: © infocatalan