MEET THE SOUS CHEF
SEAN SPRADLIN, EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF, CARRIAGE HOUSE
Everything Sean Spradlin thought he knew about pasta changed when he took his first bite of fideos at Casa Mono, a tapas spot in Manhattan, three years ago.
The Spanish dish, for which noodles are first toasted and then slowly cooked in liquid, was a revelation to Spradlin, who is currently the executive sous chef at Carriage House in Chicago. He quickly adopted the technique, and when we asked him for a recipe, he shared his version of fideos with clams and squid. The dish, thickened with romesco sauce and brightened by chimichurri, is a whole new take on noodles.
TRACK THIS CHEF
DAY IN THE LIFE
Hungry for More
"All I do on my day off is eat," says Spradlin, who worked at celebrated Chicago restaurants Girl & the Goat and Hot Chocolate before joining the opening team at Carriage House. "When I'm working I eat small bites all day, always standing up. It's nice to sit down for a change."
TIPS & TECHNIQUES
To make his romesco sauce, Spradlin first chars the garlic, peppers and tomatoes, which gives the finished sauce a smoky flavor. You can do this under the broiler or on a gas or charcoal grill. The charred vegetables are then blended with toasted bread and fried almonds to make romesco, which can be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated until you're ready to finish the dish.
Though this recipe calls for clams and squid, Spradlin says you can vary the protein that you use. For a non-fish version, he suggests using spicy sausage.
2 servings (plus 1 cup leftover romesco sauce)
Day-old bread, 1 slice
Extra-virgin olive oil, ¾ cup
Medium garlic cloves, 9
Plum tomatoes, 6 (cored and halved)
Medium red bell pepper, 1 (seeded and quartered)
Whole or slivered blanched, skinned almonds, ½ cup
Sherry vinegar, ¼ cup
Fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon
Kosher salt, 2 teaspoons
Freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon
Fresh mint leaves, ½ cup
Fresh parsley leaves, ½ cup
Red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons
Honey, 1 tablespoon
Medium garlic cloves, 2
Kosher salt, ¾ teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon
Extra-virgin olive oil, ½ cup
Spaghetti, ½ pound (broken in half)
Canola oil, 1 tablespoon
Shallots, 3 medium (halved and thinly sliced)
Fennel bulb, ¼ head (cored and sliced paper-thin lengthwise)
Anise liqueur, 2 tablespoons
Littleneck clams, 1 pound (scrubbed under cold water)
Squid bodies, ½ pound (thinly sliced crosswise into ¼-inch-thick rings)
Fish stock or chicken broth, 2 cups
Medium lemon, 1 (quartered)
Oil-cured black olives, ¼ cup (pitted and preferably Moroccan olives)
1. Make the romesco sauce: Preheat the oven to 300°. On a wire-rack-lined baking sheet, add the:
- Bread slice
Toast in the oven until brittle and dried out (but not browned), 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in the bowl of a food processor. Process until fine, about 5 seconds. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position (about 3 inches from the broiler element) and turn the broiler on to high.
To the large cast-iron skillet (or a rimmed baking sheet), add:
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Then add the:
- Garlic cloves, 9
- Plum tomato halves, cut side up
- Red bell pepper quarters
Broil the vegetables until charred and blackened, about 10 to 12 minutes (watch the vegetables closely, as broiler intensities vary). Remove the skillet from the oven and set aside.
In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the:
- Remaining ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fry the almonds until golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and carefully add the:
- Broiler-charred garlic, tomatoes and bell peppers (and any accumulated juices)
- Sherry vinegar
Simmer gently until the peppers collapse and soften, using the wooden spoon to stir the mixture occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable-almond mixture to the food processor with the bread crumbs and purée until semi-smooth, about 10 seconds. Add the:
- Lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
If the purée looks too thick, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Taste and re-season with more salt or pepper if needed.
2. Make the chimichurri: To the bowl of a food processor, add the:
- Mint leaves
- Parsley leaves
- Red wine vinegar
- Garlic cloves
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Process until the ingredients are roughly chopped, about 15 seconds. Slowly, with the food processor running, add the:
- Olive oil
Process until the sauce is thick and emulsified, about 20 seconds.
3. Make the fideos: In a large pot set over medium heat, add the:
Dry-toast the pasta, shaking the pan often, until golden-brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.
To the pot, add the:
- Canola oil
- Sliced shallots
- Sliced fennel
Cook, stirring often, until the shallots and fennel are soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the:
- Anise liqueur
Stir to combine, reduce the heat to medium, then return to the pot the:
- Toasted spaghetti
- Scrubbed clams
- Squid rings
- Fish stock
- 2 cups of the romesco sauce
Cover the pot and steam until the clams open, 6 to 7 minutes (discard any clams that don't open). Remove the lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the spaghetti is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Season with:
- A squeeze of lemon juice
Turn the fideos, clams and squid into a large serving bowl. Top with the:
- Pitted olives
Divide the chimichurri sauce over each serving.
Serve with the:
- Remaining lemon wedges
- Sliced baguette
For dipping in the sauce.