Fideus with smoky chipotle salsa

You might not think about pasta as a Mexican ingredient, but this dish with a rich tomato sauce is loved across the motherland.  Add a touch of spice with a chipotle salsa on top, and if you’re feeling indulgent, you can mix in some fresh crab meat to really give yourself a taste of summer on the Pacific Coast.

 

For the fideus

400g vermicelli (or angel-hair pasta)
100ml olive oil
4 baby shallots, finely chopped
6 ripe, plum tomatoes, halved
2-3 serrano or other green chillies, finely chopped
A good pinch of allspice
2 bay leaves
500ml chicken or fish stock
1.5 tbsp baby capers
A handful of chopped coriander
4 tbsp Sour cream

 

For the chipotle salsa

2 cloves garlic
5 chipotle chillies en adobo (use 3 tbsp of hot, smoked pimenton if you can’t get hold of chipotles)
2 tsp Demerara sugar
Juice and zest of a lime
2 tsp fish sauce
225g crab meat (Optional)

 

Method

In a heavy-based frying pan, fry the vermicelli in the oil, stirring from time to time, until it turns a rich golden colour, a few minutes. Pass through a sieve, draining the vermicelli on kitchen towel and put the oil back into the pan.

 

On a medium heat, sweat the shallots and chillies until they are translucent and then grate in the tomatoes, cut face down, onto a coarse grater, leaving the skin behind (which is indigestible). Add the allspice and bay, season with salt, pepper and a good pinch of sugar and simmer for 15-20 minutes whilst you make the chipotle salsa and lay the table. Simmering the sauce will concentrate the flavours giving you a lovely, rich tomato sauce.

 

To make the chipotle salsa, bash the garlic cloves with the chipotles and sugar until they are a paste. Add the lime and fish sauce, and if you’re using it, stir in the crab and check for seasoning. The salsa should be spicy and slightly sweet, salty and fresh and zesty.

 

Fifteen minutes before you are ready to eat, pour the stock into the tomato sauce, bring to simmering point. Stir the noodles into the sauce and simmer gently until the liquid is absorbed and the noodles are tender.

 

Serve, piled high on plates with a good spoonful of the chipotle salsa on top and lots of coriander and sour cream.

 

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