When JFK was president, I remember my mother, Nona going on and on about how JFK ate fiedos at some foreign dignitary dinner. She was so proud that one of ‘our’ little ethnic goodies was eaten and enjoyed by the President of the Untied States. I can’t verify the story since every time I Google fideos and JFK, the computer assumes I am misspelling videos. The picture below of my mom is from 1943. Don’t worry Nona, as her name has morphed into is still with us and has 8 great grand children.
Toasted vermicelli noodles, cooked and sauced with tomatoes and fried onions, have a deepened brown flavor that blends perfectly with the sweet caramelized flavor of the onions and the mild acid of the tomatoes. In our home, fideos were a humble side dish. What could be better? Like my brother in law David always says “to make food Sephardic just add some savoya frita (fried onions) and tomato sauce”.
1 ten ounce package of vermicelli or thin noodles sold coiled into birds nests
Water for boiling noodles
1 teaspoon salt
1 onion diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper
3-4 Roma or San Marzano tomatoes diced
1 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes in sauce
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley for garnish
Break up the coils of vermicelli/ with your hands and place the noodles on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler element in the oven. Place the baking sheet of vermicelli under the broiler and keeping a close eye on the color of the noodles, they turn color fast, toast them a bit. When there are some visible brown spots on part of the noodles remove the vermicelli from the oven.
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Salt the water and place the broken toasted vermicelli in the water. Boil from 3-5 minutes depending what brand of noodles you have purchased and how thin they are. Drain the water from the noodles when they are tender. Set the noodles aside for a few moments while you prepare the onions and the tomatoes.
Preheat a deep sauté pan. Add the olive oil and then add the diced onions. Sauté until sweet and translucent, then season with salt and pepper. Next add the diced fresh tomatoes and sauté for a bit. When the fresh tomatoes begin to release their liquid and disintegrate, add the can of chopped tomatoes. Season the tomatoes and onions again, taste and adjust. Add the cooked vermicelli and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Serve the fideos as a side dish to fish, chicken, kufte or meat.