Lenten Empanada with Salt Cod And Golden Raisins


The new spanish tableDuring Lent in Spain, salt cod takes the place of meat in all kinds of terrific dishes. This empanada, with its marvelous play of the sweet and the salty, is delicious made either with storebought puff pastry or with the Olive Oil and Saffron Pastry on the facing page. It takes a little effort but the results are to die for. Serve it for a light lunch along with a green salad or as a tapa, cut into small squares. The salt cod needs to soak for at least twenty-four hours, so plan accordingly.

  • Yield: 1 Servings Large Empanada 12 to 14 as a Tapa, 8 as a Light Main Course


  • 1 pound boneless salt cod, soaked and cooked, then drained
  • 0.33 cup olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium-size white onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-size green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sweet (not smoked) paprika
  • 1 small bay leaf, crumbled
  • 6 Canned tomatoes, chopped, plus about 2 tablespoons of their juices
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting the work surface
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed, or Olive Oil and Saffron Pastry
  • 0.33 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1½ teaspoons milk
How to Make It
  1. Pat the salt cod dry with paper towels. Flake the cod into small pieces, removing any bones or hard bits. Set the cod aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.Add the green and red peppers and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 7 to 8 minutes, adding a little more olive oil if the skillet looks dry. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft but not brown, about 12 minutes. Add the paprika, bay leaf, and tomatoes and their juices, and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the raisins and wine, cover the skillet, and simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are reduced to a jamlike consistency, about 15 minutes. Let the vegetable mixture cool, then stir in the salt cod. Season the filling with salt and black pepper to taste, adding a little lemon juice if it needs a touch of acidity. The empanada filling can be prepared up to a day ahead and refrigerated, covered.
  3. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly brush a 17- by 11-inch baking sheet with olive oil.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry to a roughly 18- by 12-inch rectangle.Transfer it to the oiled baking sheet; it will overhang the edge slightly. Roll out the remaining sheet of puff pastry to a rectangle that is slightly smaller than the first. Spread the filling evenly over the pastry on the baking sheet. Sprinkle parsley evenly on top. Cover the filling with the second pastry rectangle. Fold the edges of the bottom crust up over the top and crimp them decoratively.
  5. Place the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Brush the top of the empanada with this egg wash. Using a sharp knife, make slits all over the top crust to allow steam to escape.
  6. Bake the empanada in the center rack until golden brown and baked through, about 30 minutes for puff pastry, 45 minutes for Olive Oil and Saffron Pastry. Once the empanada has been removed from the oven, if you’ve used Olive Oil and Saffron Pastry, cover the empanada loosely with a clean kitchen towel (if you’ve used puff pastry, don’t cover it). Let the empanada cool until slightly warm or room temperature. Cut it into squares and serve.

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