Empanada de atun

I love Galician empanada. It is an amazing… pie.

I first tried it when I was very small, as my parents’ house is in Pasaia (Paco Rabanne’s village by Victor Hugo’s hide away), a fishermen village full of Galicians. My favourites are the tuna or cod ones. Yes, surprise surprise, but bear in mind my grandfather was a fisherman and the sea is in the blood.

Cooking time: 20 minutes + 35 minutes
Quantity: This mix serves 4


1. Always buy tinned chopped tomatoes. That is, if you don’t live in a sunny place along the Mediterranean where you can buy delicious ones. I have tried to buy whole tomatoes in a tin and chop them and it did not work. Also, try to buy good quality ones if you can. As usual, not so many ingredients so quality is important.

2. You can use (and I might be told off for this) either fresh fish or good quality bonito preserved in oil.

3. I like red onions, as they don’t make me cry, but in Spain the traditional ones are the brown ones.

4. This is a very quick dinner if you have friends visiting and I generally never make my pastry. When I feel very lazy, I buy it rolled. If you do, remember to leave it out of the fridge as you cook the tuna.


3 spoons of olive oil
1 Medium onion sliced finely.
2 very large garlic cloves (or 3 average size ones)
2 small bids eye chillies
400 gr of chopped tomatoes.
150 gr of bonito (if preserved, drain it first)
2 table spoons of parsley
Maldon salt
375 gr of puff pastry.
Bit of butter or oil to brush on.

Cooking Instructions:

Place the oil, the onion, chillies and the garlic in a pan and heat in medium heat until golden.

Something I learnt in architecture school, well, the pub by the school, was that if you add a pinch of salt to the onions as they are cooking, they release the moisture and soften nicely.

Make sure that you turn them regularly to avoid any ingredient to be overcooked. Remove the chillies. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 10 minute. Taste, adjust salt if required and add the parsley and the fish.

(Preheat the oven at 190 degrees c, gas mark 5. )

Continue cooking on the hob for further ten minutes. You will notice that the water reduces and the mix becomes easy to spread.

Prepared the pastry: If it is a block, roll it. If rolled, stretch it and cut in two parts. The one to be placed in the bottom of the baking tray, should be around a centimetre larger throughout the whole perimeter.

Oil the base of the tray and place the larger rectangle on it.

Place the bonito mix on it leaving a frame all-around of 1.5 cm. Place the second piece of pastry centred on it. Fold the extra pastry from the lower sheet and roll it tight against the top one.

Pierce the empanada in various locations to let the heat off the empanada whilst cooking.

At this stage, I should probably suggest that you brush egg on it, but really, I think it is a waste of a hen’s day work, so instead, I cook it for 20 minutes, take it out, oil or butter, slightly the top and place it back in the over for further fifteen minutes.

Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Recipe by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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