Monday, March 05, 2007

Galician Tuna Empanada with melting onions

Empanada Gallega De Atun

1/3 cup olive oil, plus more if needed
2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
2 large white onions, quartered and thinly sliced
3 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 medium green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 large ripe tomato, peeled, cut in half and grated on a box grater
2tsp sweet (not smoked) paprika
1 small pinch of saffron threads, pulverized in a mortar, and steeped in 2 tbsp very hot water
18 oz tuna, drained and flaked
3tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced, pitted manzanilla olives
Flour for dusting
Olive oil and saffron pastry (recipe follows)
1 large egg yolk
1&1/2 tsp milk

Place oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add onions and cook till translucent about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and cook till they begin to soften, about 7-8 minutes, adding a little more oil if necessary. Reduce heat to low and cook about 12 minutes, till very soft. Add tomato paprika and saffron, cover and simmer for about 15 min. Stir occasionally, it should reduce to a jam like consistency.
Let the veg mixture cool, then add the tuna and parsley. Season to taste. This filling can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated,covered.

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375f. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

Roll out the larger pastry ball (on a floured surface, using a floured pin), about 19x12 inches. Transfer it to the baking sheet (it will overhang a little). Roll out the remaining pastry slightly smaller then the first. Spread the filling evenly on the pastry on the baking sheet, sprinkle with olives and cover with the smaller pastry. Fold up the bottom pastry to seal, and crimp decoratively.

Whisk the egg yolk and milk, and brush the top of the empanada with it. Make several slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake about 45 minutes till golden brown. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and allow to cool a little, or to room temp to serve.

Olive Oil and Saffron Pastry
1tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
2/3 cup lukewarm water
4tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 large pinch of saffron threads, toasted, pulverized and steeped in 3tbsp hot water
2 scant tsp salt
3&12-3&3/4 cups flour

Place yeast sugar and water in a large bowl and stir to mix. Let stand until foamy, about 10 min. Whisk in butter, olive oil, egg saffron and salt, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Stir in 3&1/2 cups flour, one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Knead the dough about 5 min, till elastic and smooth. If the dough is too sticky use the extra 1/4 cup flour a little at a time. Divide the dough into two parts, one slightly larger then the other. Shape into two balls, place in a buttered bowl and cover loosely with cling film. Leave to sit for 20 minutes, it will only rise slightly. The dough can be refrigerated covered in cling film for up to 24 hours, but let it return to room temp before using.

So I recently mentioned that whenever I tried to make Spanish food, it came out less then impressive. As it turns out, I just had the wrong books. This recipe is from a book called The New Spanish Table . I LOVE IT! It’s one of those books that is so pretty, and it has all this other information in it too. It’s got a lot about Spanish culture, and history, especially as it relates to food, It’s a good read as well as a good cookbook.

I have always loved Empanadas, so I was a little worried about trying to recreate them, but this recipe was wonderful. I really recommend making the dough instead of using store bought pastry. It’s more authentic, and also, it is not to be missed. I love dough, in general, but this one was just lovely. I almost over kneaded it because I didn’t want to stop playing with it. It’s an olive oil dough, and it comes out sort of in between a bread and a pastry dough.

This is not a quick thing to make, but it’s also not difficult, and it comes out so good. I want to eat this all the time! I’m totally going to make their Chicken empanada too.


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