Tuna Empanadillas

I made this dish for a ‘bring a plate’ party I went to on New Year’s Eve. An impressive dish which looked more involved than it actually was. Empanadillas are small, bite-size pasties filled with whatever filling you see fit, then deep fried and transformed into a burst of spanish flavours. My favourite empanadas are tuna. This recipe is really simple and the results are really tasty. I made life simple for myself by buying pre made, frozen pastry but if you must make your own then off you go. I was in no mood for it. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to love these little emapanadillas – they were first plate cleared by the party guests. Result!

INGREDIENTS:
200g canned tuna in spring water
1 tablespoon capers (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon black olives (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon jarred roasted red capsicum (finely chopped)
2 spring onions (very finely chopped)
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3-4 tablespoons home made alioli (or shop bought mayonnaise + 1 crushed clove garlic)

shop bought short-crust pastry
olive oil for deep frying

DIRECTIONS:
Mix together all the filling ingredients, then cut the pastry into circles using an 8cm circular cutter. Place 1/2 teaspoon of filling into the centre of each circle then bring the edges together to create 1/2 circle packages. Press together the sides with a fork to seal properly and arrange on a plate while you repeat until all the filling is used up. You should manage about 35-40 empanadillas.

Heat about 4cm of olive oil in a non-stick pan until a little of the excess pastry cooks in about 2 minutes. Drop a few empanadillas into the oil (being careful not to crowd the pan). Cook for about 2 minutes each side then drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining empanadillas. Serve immediately or cool and heat in the oven for 5 minutes when you want to eat them. They’ll not become as crunchy if you eat them later, but I personally don’t think that matters a bit!

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