All the empanadas of Latin America—whether baked or fried, wrapped in a corn or flour dough—can thank the Galician empanada for their existence. Unlike the individual hand pies of Latin America, this empanada is formed as a large baked pie with a wheat crust and filled with onions, green peppers, and your choice of protein. Only after it's baked does it get cut into individual portions. Here's how to make it at home with a classic tuna filling.
'Spanish' on Serious Eats
The Spanish are masters at packing RDS (Really Delicious Stuff) into cans. When I'm drinking a glass of sherry or a Rioja with my wife Adri, I could be content with a good loaf of bread, some excellent olive oil, and some RDS. This recipe—pimientos del piquillo rellenos de atún (that's Spanish for "peppers with some well-dressed tuna shoved inside'em")—requires two jars of RDS: piquillo peppers and oil-packed bonito tuna. But it still takes all of 15 minutes to put together.
This easy bean appetizer takes only five minutes to prepare, but it does rely on some high quality ingredients for optimal flavor. Tender, creamy giant lima beans are worth the splurge when you're coating them with your best extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a pinch of smoked paprika. Celery, shallots, and garlic round out the flavor profile and add crunchy texture.
The pressure cooker is an amazing device for making flavor-packed stews in very short order. In this version, canned chickpeas, roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika, and chorizo come together to form a flavorful base for fall-off-the-bone tender chicken legs. It all cooks in under half an hour start to finish.
Cooking leeks on the grill can take a very long time, but by par-boiling them first, we were able to cut the grilling time to less than 10 minutes. Once softened and lightly charred, they make a beautiful pairing with Spanish romesco sauce, made from almonds and roasted tomatoes and peppers.
An easy stovetop fig jam joins nutty manchego cheese as the filling for simple, but elegant, chicken breasts. Finished in a port wine pan sauce with garlic, a touch of grainy mustard and heavy cream, the results are luxurious.
Sweet ripe melon is a perfect candidate for the gazpacho treatment, yielding a coral-colored, subtly fruity chilled soup.
Almonds, garlic, and plenty of olive oil join together to create this rich, silky soup that is traditionally garnished with sweet green grapes.
Deviled eggs flavored with crisp fried Spanish chorizo and sherry vinegar, drizzled with bright red chorizo oil and smoked Spanish paprika.
Juicy, tender shrimp packed with layered garlic flavor and plenty of olive oil makes the perfect Spanish-style snack.
Jeff Koehler wrote the cookbook on paella. Literally. So I was keen to try out the paella recipes in his new cookbook, Spain. His shellfish paella is based on a recipe from his mother-in-law, who has been making this particular pan of rice every weekend for close to 50 years; for a paella newbie like myself, it seemed like a well-tested place to start.
Salt cod makes several appearances in Jeff Koehler's new cookbook, Spain. Some recipes use it for seasoning rather than a centerpiece, while others offer it on a plate with little more than olive oil. I wanted to strike a balance between the two, and chose to prepare a simple salad of salt cod, orange, and black olives.
My previous experience with empanadas consisted of individual hand-pies filled mostly with sweet ground beef and olives. But my perception of the savory pastries has totally shifted as of this week. Tucked into the tapas chapter of Jeff Koehler's new cookbook, Spain, is a recipe for a giant pie filled with slivers of paprika-marinated pork mixed with caramelized onions and peppers.
Miniature fried savory patties are some of my favorite small bites. I'm most familiar with hearty arancini and fluffy salt cod fritters, but I'll eat just about anything bite-sized that's served hot from the fryer. And based on the description in Jeff Koehler's new cookbook, Spain, Spanish croquettes offer something a little different.
Sweet and tart with a fruity fragrance that evokes the fall apple or pear harvest, quince paste delivers a lot in a recipe that only require a few ingredients.
Spanish beef stew gets a boost from pimentón and piquillo peppers before it's finished with a touch of sour cream.
Super fast gazpacho. The key is layering and salting the vegetables above the bread so that their exuded juices get sopped up before blending.
Spirited Spanish-style cod rests on a pool of chorizo-studded tomato broth.
Salmorejo is cold tomato soup from Córdoba, Spain that can easily be thickened into a great, refreshing summer dip.
A super quick, one skillet meal made with fresh spring asparagus, Spanish chorizo, and an egg fried to frizzled perfection, all served with a smoky and tangy paprika allioli.