Fideos with Clams, Romesco and Chimichurri

Sean Spradlin of Carriage House shares his recipe

Everything Sean Spradlin thought he knew about pasta changed when he took his first bite of fideos at Casa Mono, a tapas spot in Manhattan, three years ago.

The Spanish dish, for which noodles are first toasted and then slowly cooked in liquid, was a revelation to Spradlin, who is currently the executive sous chef at Carriage House in Chicago. He quickly adopted the technique, and when we asked him for a recipe, he shared his version of fideos with clams and squid. The dish, thickened with romesco sauce and brightened by chimichurri, is a whole new take on noodles.

Recipe adapted from Sean Spradlin, Carriage House, Chicago

Fideos With Clams, Romesco And Chimichurri
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Meet Carriage House chef Sean Spradlin and get his recipe for fideos (toasted pasta) with clams and squid
Servings
2
servings (plus 1 cup leftover romesco sauce)
Ingredients
  • Romesco Sauce
  • Day-old bread, 1 slice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, ¾ cup
  • Medium garlic cloves, 9
  • Plum tomatoes, 6 (cored and halved)
  • Medium red bell pepper, 1 (seeded and quartered)
  • Whole or slivered blanched, skinned almonds, ½ cup
  • Sherry vinegar, ¼ cup
  • Fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon
  • Kosher salt, 2 teaspoons
  • Freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon
  • Chimichurri
  • Fresh mint leaves, ½ cup
  • Fresh parsley leaves, ½ cup
  • Red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons
  • Honey, 1 tablespoon
  • Medium garlic cloves, 2
  • Kosher salt, ¾ teaspoon
  • Freshly ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, ½ cup
  • Fideos
  • Spaghetti, ½ pound (broken in half)
  • Canola oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Shallots, 3 medium (halved and thinly sliced)
  • Fennel bulb, ¼ head (cored and sliced paper-thin lengthwise)
  • Anise liqueur, 2 tablespoons
  • Littleneck clams, 1 pound (scrubbed under cold water)
  • Squid bodies, ½ pound (thinly sliced crosswise into ¼-inch-thick rings)
  • Fish stock or chicken broth, 2 cups
  • Medium lemon, 1 (quartered)
  • Oil-cured black olives, ¼ cup (pitted and preferably Moroccan olives)
  • Baguette, sliced
Directions
  1. Make the romesco sauce: Preheat the oven to 300°. On a wire-rack-lined baking sheet, add the: Bread slice Toast in the oven until brittle and dried out (but not browned), 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in the bowl of a food processor. Process until fine, about 5 seconds. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position (about 3 inches from the broiler element) and turn the broiler on to high. To the large cast-iron skillet (or a rimmed baking sheet), add: ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil Then add the: Garlic cloves, 9 Plum tomato halves, cut side up Red bell pepper quarters Broil the vegetables until charred and blackened, about 10 to 12 minutes (watch the vegetables closely, as broiler intensities vary). Remove the skillet from the oven and set aside. In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the: Remaining ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil Almonds Fry the almonds until golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and carefully add the: Broiler-charred garlic, tomatoes and bell peppers (and any accumulated juices) Sherry vinegar Simmer gently until the peppers collapse and soften, using the wooden spoon to stir the mixture occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable-almond mixture to the food processor with the bread crumbs and purée until semi-smooth, about 10 seconds. Add the: Lemon juice Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper If the purée looks too thick, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Taste and re-season with more salt or pepper if needed.
  2. Make the chimichurri: To the bowl of a food processor, add the: Mint leaves Parsley leaves Red wine vinegar Honey Garlic cloves Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper Process until the ingredients are roughly chopped, about 15 seconds. Slowly, with the food processor running, add the: Olive oil Process until the sauce is thick and emulsified, about 20 seconds.
  3. Make the fideos: In a large pot set over medium heat, add the: Spaghetti Dry-toast the pasta, shaking the pan often, until golden-brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. To the pot, add the: Canola oil Sliced shallots Sliced fennel Cook, stirring often, until the shallots and fennel are soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the: Anise liqueur Stir to combine, reduce the heat to medium, then return to the pot the: Toasted spaghetti Add the: Scrubbed clams Squid rings Fish stock 2 cups of the romesco sauce Cover the pot and steam until the clams open, 6 to 7 minutes (discard any clams that don't open). Remove the lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the spaghetti is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Season with: A squeeze of lemon juice Turn the fideos, clams and squid into a large serving bowl. Top with the: Pitted olives Divide the chimichurri sauce over each serving. Serve with the: Remaining lemon wedges And the: Sliced baguette For dipping in the sauce.
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