If you didn't know any better, you might think (and I can't say I'd blame you) that we opened up a small Mexican Cafe from the comforts of our apartment. Ever since our little fiesta this weekend, we've been hooked on classic Mexican flavors and incorporating them into every meal, in any which way we can. Tacos, burritos and enchiladas of varying kinds have been created and consumed in masses as well as a new favorite of mine, Fideos.
Fideos in Spanish literally mean "noodles" and most commonly refers to the thin variety (either long or short in length) and can be classically found in soups or as a side dish. For my first attempt, I kept it pretty simple, toasting some broken vermicelli noodles in some hot oil before adding my spicy, peppery tomato broth. After that, there really wasn't much to it, just waiting until the noodles soaked up all that flavorful broth. From start to finish, we're looking at about 30 minutes and very little work to yield something so satisfying. From there, some chicken, pork, beef or even some roasted vegetables could be perched on top to round things out and make it a complete meal. Or, if you're like me, you could focus your energy (and stomach) on just the noodles and save the proteins for another meal. Sprinkle some fresh chopped scallions and/or a bit of cheese and you've got yourself quite the dish. Fideos, I also discovered, are delicious for breakfast as well. Spicy in all their noodley glory, they make a perfect nest for a poached egg to rest on and the added richness from the yolk takes it all one step further.
Whether you eat your Fideos for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you make them. While I can't say how much longer our little obsession for perfecting our own Mexican recipes will last before we move on to another region of the globe, I can say that I have a whole new level of appreciation for South of the Boarder cuisine.
Red Chili Fideos
- 3 dried Ancho Chilies
- 1-2 whole canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (depending on how hot you like)
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 tsp ground Cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground Coriander
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 TBS Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 Vermicelli or Thin Spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces
- Salt to taste
- Chopped Scallions and/or Queso Fresco (optional)
Put the dried Ancho Chilies into a skillet and toast on medium heat, turning every couple of minutes until the peppers start to get very shiny (about 5 minutes). Allow to cool, cut off stems and remove seeds and place in blender. In a small, non-stick skillet, roast the tomatoes until they start to get soft and their skins start to brown a bit. Place them in the blender along with the Ancho peppers. Add the cumin, coriander and a generous pinch of salt. Puree the pepper and tomato mixture with the water. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil and add the Vermicelli. Stirring constantly, heat the noodles until they turn golden brown (about 5-7 minutes). Once the noodles have browned, add the Chili-Tomato broth and stir to combine. The noodles should all be submerged in the broth. If they aren't add more water. Add another pinch of salt and stir to combine. Lower heat to medium-low and cook until all of the broth has been absorbed and the noodles are cooked through. Serve with Scallions and/cheese (optional).