IT WAS VINTAGE TIME IN THE O SALNÉS VALLEY AND I WAS VISITING A FRIEND WHO MAKES ALBARIÑO IN THE LITTLE TOWN OF RIBADUMIA. THE HARVEST WAS WELL UNDERWAY AND HE WAS FLAT-OUT ORGANISING THE COLLECTION OF GRAPES FROM SCORES OF TINY VINEYARDS ACROSS THE VILLAGE, SOME NO BIGGER THAN A BACKYARD. I WAS INVITED FOR LUNCH WITH THE GRAPE PICKERS. THEY WERE ALREADY EATING FROM A RICKETY CARD TABLE SET UP UNDER THE VINES. THE YOUNG MEN WERE DRINKING VINO TINTO FROM CERAMIC BOWLS — HOME-MADE RED WINE THAT WAS THICK AND TANNIC. UNDER A CLOTH WAS WHAT THEY CALLED AN EMPANADA, BUT YOU AND I MIGHT CALL A SLICE OR PIE. IT WAS MADE WITH POLENTA AND STUFFED WITH TINY SCALLOPS AND A SOFRITO OF ONIONS AND GREEN CAPSICUMS (PEPPERS). IT WAS AMAZING. I ASKED HERMINDA, THE ELDERLY LADY WHO MADE THE CORN EMPANADA, FOR HER RECIPE. SHE LOOKED AT ME QUIZZICALLY, THEN REPLIED: IT IS EASY. FIRST YOU PLANT YOUR CORN, THEN YOU HARVEST IT, THEN YOU GRIND IT, MAKE A DOUGH, PUT IN THE FILLING, ADD SOME MORE WOOD TO THE OVEN AND COOK IT. SIMPLE.’ HERE IS A MODERN VERSION OF HER RECIPE. IN TRUE GALICIAN STYLE YOU COULD ALSO USE MARKET-FRESH CLAMS, PIPPIES, SARDINES OR PRAWNS (SHRIMP).
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leek and sauté for 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Add the garlic, bay leaves, capsicum and a pinch of salt, then reduce the heat to low-medium and cook, stirring regularly, for 15 minutes, or until the capsicum is soft.
Stir in the scallop meat and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the cornflour, stir together well and cook for 2–3 minutes. Increase the heat to high, pour in the wine and let it bubble for a few minutes, then add
Meanwhile, make the pastry. Bring
Lift up the dough, one piece at a time, and place on the baking tray, pressing together any holes to cover the base.
Spread the cooled filling over the pastry. Roll out the remaining pastry until
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