These crispy little pasties make a very different use for a can of tuna. I used the fantastic atún claro by Ortiz and any good quality tuna in olive oil will work. They’re best served hot but I believe the original empanadas were the Galician (fishy) equivalent of Cornish pasties, and as such a kind of packed lunch (but I could be wrong…). Anyway, these are based on the Moro recipe for a sardine filling but I’ve adapted it for winter ingredients and to match the different flavour of tuna. (While working at Moro I spent quite a lot of time making these in preparation for evening service and tapas.)
Serves 2, makes 6 empanadillas
Dough: 100 g unbleached strong white bread flour; 25 g fine semolina or coarse polenta, plus extra for dusting; 1 tbsp olive oil; 12.5 g melted butter; 10 ml cider vinegar, 10 ml water, mixed or 20 ml white wine or cider; pinch salt; pinch caster sugar; 1tbsp warm water
Filling: 1/2 large onion, finely chopped; 1 leek, sliced; 1 tsp crushed fennel seed; 1 garlic clove finely chopped; 1 dessertspoon tomato purée; 112 g can tuna in olive oil; salt and pepper; 2 tbsp olive oil
Mix all the dough ingredients together except the water in a bowl. Rub together until crumbly. Add the water and bring together as a dough. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until well mixed. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for about an hour.
Get a large frying pan to a medium to high heat then add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onion and leek. Cook until soft and starting to caramelise but don’t burn them. Add the garlic and crushed fennel seeds and cook through. Stir in the tomato purée then add the whole can of tuna, including its oil. Mash everything together with fork, but keep it fairly coarse. Cook for 5 more minutes and season.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
For each empanadilla, flour the work surface with semolina or polenta, make a walnut sized piece of dough into a ball then roll it out as thin as you can and in as round a shape as possible. Place a dessert spoon of filling just off centre. Run a dampened finger around the edge of half of the dough and fold over to make a semi-circle. Seal by pushing down with a fork and then trim with a knife or a ravioli wheel. Dust a baking tray with semolina and put the empanadillas on this. Bake for about 10–15 minutes until light brown.