I’m a little giddy and a little worried.
Giddy because an incredible Spanish chef has agreed to teach me how to
make his take on fideuà (“noodles”), a classic Catalan pasta dish
similar to a seafood paella, but made with very thin noodles (known as
fideos or fideus) instead of rice. I’m worried because he’s late. I’ve
been knocking on the locked door of his Manhattan restaurant for five
minutes. Through the glass, I see no lights, no people. Do I have the
right time? Did he forget? Just as I reach for my phone, the tall
silhouette of chef Luis Bollo appears, walking toward me down the
Two classics, combined
Bollo, the chef/partner of Salinas restaurant, grew up in San Sebastián,
Spain, and has cooked in Michelin-starred restaurants across Spain and
the rest of Europe. He’s known for his contemporary twists on
traditional Spanish recipes, which makes his version of fideuà, which he
calls fideos rossejat rápida, an ideal demonstration of his culinary
talent. To make it, Bollo combines elements from two Catalan
classics—fideuà, the seafood pasta paella, and fideos rossejat (“golden
noodles”), a first course or side dish of toasted fideos cooked in
aromatic fish stock, enriched with creamy aïoli. Bollo takes the best of
both recipes and then riffs some more, frying the fideos for nutty,
toasty flavor, cooking them in chicken stock with chorizo, chicken, and
seafood (reminiscent of a mixed paella), and finishing the dish with a
dollop of rich homemade saffron aïoli. “It’s not a complicated dish to
cook, and the ingredients, which are uniquely Spanish, are easy to find
here,” he says. “So it’s a delicious, approachable introduction to the
pleasures of the Spanish table.”
Bollo reheats the sofrito, a slowly cooked, caramelized combination of onion, sweet bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and smoked paprika, which he made ahead of time.
Bollo gently stirs the fideos in the bubbling oil until they change from pale yellow to golden brown.
In a wide paella pan, Bollo cooks off chicken thighs and chorizo with garlic, white wine, and the sofrito, adds the fried fideos, and then barely covers it all with chicken stock.
Luis Bollo moving the simmering fideos from the stovetop to the oven.