Short, thin noodles called fideos (fideus in Valencian) replace rice in this seafood variation on paella, invented in the seaside town of Gandia, south of Valencia.
1/2 lb. small clams (such as manila)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. monkfish, cut into 3'' chunks
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8 cups fish stock
1 large pinch saffron threads
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 lb. fideos or spaghetti, roughly broken into 2'' pieces
1/2 lb. small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1. Scrub clams under running water to remove grit and sand. Place in a bowl; cover with salted water; soak for 30 minutes. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a 12''–14'' paella pan or medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add monkfish and cook, turning once, until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low, stir in tomatoes and garlic, and season with salt. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Heat stock in a saucepan over medium heat. Toast saffron in a small skillet over medium heat for 1 minute, then crumble into stock with paprika. Scatter fideos into monkfish mixture, add mussels and clams, pour in stock, and submerge fideos and shellfish as much as possible. Cook, without stirring, over medium heat until fideos are tender, 20–25 minutes. (Discard mussels or clams that do not open.)
4. Preheat broiler. Brown fideuŕ briefly under broiler, then cool for 20 minutes. Serve from pan at room temperature.