One of the most famous street snacks of Veracruz, this puff pastry empanada is flavored with the classic Spanish combination of raisins and olives, with the distinctly Veracruz touch of pickled jalapeños. I think of it as a fish picadillo. You can use any leftover cooked fish, flaked, in place of tuna. If you live in a place where frozen puff pastry dough is available, feel free to use it.
For the dough:
2 2/3 cups flour ¼ teaspoon salt 2 ½ sticks very cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces ¾ cup ice cold water
Place flour, salt and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the butter is incorporated and in pea size pieces. Alternatively, use a pastry cutter, working quickly so butter does not lose its chill.
Add the cold water, a little bit at a time, continuing to pulse or use the pastry cutter.
Turn the dough out onto a floured, flat surface. Push it together, but do not knead. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly 12 by 18 inches. Fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third up. The rectangle will now be about 6 by 18 inches.
Roll up the dough from one of the short ends and lightly press it into a square. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for an hour before using.
For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
- ½ medium white onion, finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 ½ pounds roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 7-ounce cans tuna, drained and shredded, or use shredded, cooked fish
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup each, chopped: raisins, green olives, pickled jalapeños
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
- Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and cook until transparent. Add the garlic and continue cooking 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until their juice has evaporated.
Add all remaining ingredients, cover and cook on a low flame for 15-20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and allow mixture to cool a bit before filling the volovanes.
To make the volovanes:
Make an egg wash with 1 egg and 2 tablespoons water. Remove the puff pastry dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 5 to 6 inch rounds, using any round base. Brush the edges of the rounds with the egg wash. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of dough onto each round and fold over to form a half moon shape. Place gently to seal, using the tines of a fork. Place the empanadas on baking sheets, preferably lined with parchment paper. Brush with any remaining egg wash and bake at 350° for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy. Makes about 16 volovanes.
Mexican empanadas: Portable pockets of flavor