Fee day-o come — and I want to eat some

BY DEBBIE MATTHEWS, The Curious Cook
Posted 9/11/20

In my daydreams, I’m glamorous and alluring. Late at night, after an exclusive party, my driver brings me home to my large tastefully-decorated apartment in a luxury building in Art Deco …

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Fee day-o come — and I want to eat some

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A finished fideo frittata, ready to eat.
A finished fideo frittata, ready to eat.
Photo courtesy of Debbie Matthew
Posted

In my daydreams, I’m glamorous and alluring. Late at night, after an exclusive party, my driver brings me home to my large tastefully-decorated apartment in a luxury building in Art Deco City.

There, still attired in slinky velvet and expensive shoes, I whip up an intimate late supper for my gentleman friend Cary Grant and myself.

In the real world, though, money can be tight, and Petey and I need some grub to fill our bellies. So I still make dinner for two but clothed in a sweatsuit and my fuzzy Wigwam socks.

But in both realities, it’s the same dish: a fideo (fid-ay-oh) frittata. It’s an Italian open-faced omelet. They’re usually studded with potatoes. This one isn’t. This one’s flecked with fideo.

Fideo is the Spanish word for noodle. This variety is about two inches long, and the width of angel hair pasta. The La Moderna brand is widely available in the Latin section of most grocery stores. It’s also usually very cheap — like two or three bags for a dollar cheap.

It’s traditionally used in a Mexican soup. The fideo cooking process, though, is not the normal noodle soup method of just tossing it raw into pot of soup. The secret is in the toasting.

Oil is added to a skillet, and the fideo is gently tossed until brown and nutty. In my frittata, after rendering the bacon, I pour out all the fat, but don’t wipe the pan, and what little bit of bacon grease left is what I use.

It’s the height of folly to employ neglect or abandonment during the toasting portion of the program. It only takes five to seven minutes; even I, impatience incarnate, can manage that.

Getting all your fillings cooked off and out of the way will make the assembly and cooking a breeze whether you’re just in from a late night, or it’s simply time for dinner. I make my fillings early in the day and stash ’em in the fridge until it’s time to cook. You can even do them the day before. Then, in less than 15 minutes, you could be sitting down to a meal.

Fideo frittata, ready for the oven.

This frittata can be eaten with toast and a fruit salad for breakfast, or some mixed greens, crusty bread and a glass of dry white for supper. The other night I served it with some herb-roasted grape tomatoes (and glasses of sun tea).

Fideo Frittata

3 cups broccoli, cut into small florets and blanched until just tender

1/2 small onion, chopped

2 cups mushrooms sliced

2 tablespoons sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil

2 slices bacon

3/4 cups raw fideo

2 cups chicken stock

6 eggs, well-beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed or coarsely shredded

3/4 cup Marsala

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper

Cut bacon into 1/2 inch strips, and cook until brown and crispy in heat-proof non-stick skillet. Remove and place on paper towels. Discard oil, but don’t wipe out pan.

Put fideo in same pan, and stirring constantly, sauté until pasta has turned amber. Pour chicken stock into skillet and cook pasta until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In same skillet, add olive oil, and cook mushrooms and onions until the edges have begun to crisp and caramelize. De-glaze pan with Marsala and cook until the liquid has cooked out.

At this point, you can stop, store everything, and finish later.

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat pan, and melt butter. Add all the veggies and fideo and toss to coat. Pour in egg, jiggling so it’s evenly distributed. Scatter mozzarella and bacon over the top. Cook for a couple of minutes, ’til bottom is set.

Place in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven when middle is just set (check by cutting small slit in center), cheese is melted, and bacon has begun to sizzle. Don’t let it get brown.

Slice and serve. Serves 2- 4.

When sliced and plated with a crispy, bright salad, my fideo frittata looks pretty fancy (even though in my real life the closest I get to sophistication is watching BBC America while wearing pants).

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