Omar Allibhoy has been described as "the Antonio Banderas of cooking" by none other than Gordon Ramsay, and if that isn't enough of a recommendation, we don't know what is.
Having worked in Ramsay's Maze restaurant for several years, he took the reins as executive chef at the acclaimed El Pirata Detapas in West London, while also opening the critically-acclaimed Tapas Revolution restaurants in Westfield and Bluewater.
Omar's debut cookbook, also entitled Tapas Revolution is packed with over 100 Spanish recipes, and we've got one just for you, as Omar describes how to cook the perfect fideuà: essentially paella made with pasta instead of rice.
Omar: "Like paella it should be cooked in a big paella pan, so if you’re cooking for large numbers it’s almost impossible to cook paella in an average kitchen because of the size of the pan. The best way to cook paella is outside on an open fire."
"However, I promise you that this recipe works just fine in a normal frying pan, but only if you cook it for no more than three people, even better if you are just cooking for two. Although I’m a professional chef, I’m also a dedicated home cook so I know all the tricks and shortcuts. This recipe is remarkably delicious, but it’s also quick. If you do it properly, I’ve no doubt you will become as addicted to this recipe as I am."
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
-150 ml olive oil
-200 g fideos (thin, short angel hair pasta) or any angel hair pasta broken into 2-cm lengths
-1 fresh squid (about 350 g), cleaned and chopped into 1-cm pieces
-10 peeled prawns, defrosted if frozen
-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
-1/4 Spanish onion, finely chopped
-1 tomato, finely chopped
-pinch of saffron
-1/2 teaspoon sweet pimentón
-1/2 teaspoon fish stock powder or cube
-1 teaspoon salt
1) Heat about one-third of the olive oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat. Add the dried pasta and fry for about 5 minutes, or until it turns golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2) Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan, increase the heat and add the chopped squid and salt. Squid can be very temperamental as it releases a lot of water when you start cooking it so it tends to explode in the pan. It’s fair to say this bit is a tiny bit dangerous. I recommend you hold a pan lid over the pan, so that the steam can still escape, and stand back. Give it a quick stir, half cover with the lid and leave to cook for a couple more minutes. Don’t scrape the bottom of the pan, as that sticky layer on the bottom is essential for making a rich stock.
3) When the squid has browned, add the peeled prawns, garlic and onion and cook for another 5 minutes until everything is dark golden (this will happen fairly quickly because of the high heat). Add the chopped tomato, saffron and pimentón and stir constantly to dissolve the sticky bits on the bottom. This should take no longer than 2 minutes.
4) Add the fish stock powder or cube and 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the fried pasta. You need to use your judgement here – you need just enough water left in the pan for the pasta to cook and absorb all the remaining liquid. A good thin fideo pasta should cook in about 3 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cover the pan and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.
5) Remove from the heat and leave for 1 more minute, uncovered, to create a toasted layer of pasta on the bottom of the pan – it will taste like heaven. Enjoy with a good dollop of alioli.
Tapas Revolution by Omar Allibhoy is out now, published by Ebury Press, £20 hardback