I was first introduced to fideo, a brothy Mexican vermicelli soup, at the Mexican-Asian Boa on West 32nd. That was a couple weeks ago, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that soul-warming soup since. A Google search turned up dozens of recipes–most one-offs from a dish passed down through the ages–and they were based, give or take, on similar ingredients.

Rather than arbitrarily selecting one, I dug through old copies of Saveur magazine and came across a story about Josefina Velázquez de León, largely considered the Julia Child of Mexico, that included a recipe for fideo. The soup is simple enough and the results are cozy–like a Mexican ramen. But if you don’t feel like cooking, order fideo at Boa or Tambien.

Boa on West 32nd, 3464 W. 32nd Ave., 303-484-9628; Tambien, 250 Steele St., 303-333-1763

Sopa de Fideo (from Saveur, December 2005 issue)
(serves 4-6)

Fideo (or fideos) noodles are very thin and short enough to fit into a soup spoon. Vermicelli pasta may be substituted.

1 ripe tomato, cored and halved crosswise
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons lard (chicken fat or vegetable oil can be substituted)
1 cup 1-inch fideo noodles or vermicelli (broken into pieces approximately 1-inch in length)
8 cups chicken stock
1 sprig fresh parsley (fresh cilantro can be substituted)
salt and freshly ground pepper
6 ounces queso fresco or dried pressed farmers’ cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375°. Roast tomatoes, cut side up, in a small roasting pan in oven until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to a blender. Add onions and garlic, and puree until mixture is a smooth, loose paste. Strain through a fine sieve, discarding the liquid, and set tomato mixture aside.

Heat lard in a heavy medium pot over medium-high heat. Add noodles and fry, stirring frequently, until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer noodles with a slotted spoon to a dish and set aside.

Carefully add tomato mixture to remaining lard in pot, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in toasted noodles, stock, and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer soup for 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasonings.

Remove and discard parsley sprig from pot. Serve soup garnished with crumbled cheese, if you like.

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.