2000s Recipes + Menus

Seafood Empanaditas

Makesabout 30 Hours D'oeuvres
  • Active time:1 1/4 hr
  • Start to finish:1 1/2 hr
May 2008
These plump, fried hors d'oeuvres, a seafood variation on Chile's signature baked onion-and-meat-filled empanadas, are hot and juicy. Have plenty of napkins ready.

For Pastry and Frying:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup lard at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • About 3 cups vegetable oil for frying

For Seafood Filling:

  • 1 1/2 lb small hard-shelled clams (about 2 inches across), scrubbed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 lb cultivated mussels
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped scallion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika (not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb sea scallops, tough ligament from side of each discarded and scallops finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Equipment:

    a 4-inch round cookie cutter; a deep-fat thermometer
  • Accompaniment:

    tomato salsa

Make Dough:

  • Stir salt into hot water until dissolved.
  • Stir together salt and remaining flour in a large bowl, then stir in egg and yeast mixture to form a dough.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, and sugar into a large bowl, then make a well in center and add lard and butter. Stir salted water into well with a wooden spoon, melting lard and butter, then stir flour into liquid, adding a little water if necessary, to form a soft and pliable dough. Knead dough on an unfloured surface until smooth and glossy, 3 to 5 minutes (dough will be soft and slightly sticky).
  • Cover dough with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth).

Make filling:

  • Cook clams in wine in a medium saucepan, covered, over medium-high heat until just opened wide, about 5 minutes (discard any that remain unopened). Transfer clams to a bowl with a slotted spoon, then cook mussels in same liquid, covered, stirring once or twice, until opened, 3 to 5 minutes (discard unopened ones). Add mussels to clams and strain cooking liquid through a paper-towel-lined sieve into a bowl.
  • Coarsely chop clams and mussels (leave small ones whole).
  • Cook onion, scallion, and garlic in butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in flour, chile, paprika, and oregano and cook, stirring occassionally, 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup shellfish-cooking liquid and bring to a boil, whisking, then simmer, whisking, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and parsley. Cook completley. (Filling will not be fully cooked.)

Make Empanaditas

  • Divide dough in half, then roll out 1 piece of dough into a 17-inch round (1/8 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 12 rounds with cutter and transfer to a parchment-lined large baking sheet. Gather scraps and reroll, then cut out more rounds. Repeat with remaining dough on another baking sheet.
  • Put a heaping tablespoon filling (it will be wet) in center of 1 round, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush edges lightly with water and pull dough over filling to enclose, then seal edge. Crimp with a fork dipped in flour. Repeat with remaining rounds.
  • Put a metal rack on a baking sheet in over, then preheat over to 200ºF.
  • Heat 1 1/2 inches oil to 360ºF in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-heat, then fry empanaditas, 4 at a time, turning with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then keep warm in over. Return oil to 360ºF between batches.
Cooks’ notes: Empanaditas can be formed (but not fried) up to 1 month ahead and frozen in an airtight container.
Leftover filling can be stirred into hot pasta or soup.
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