Empanada

Savoury Fish Pie

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 tbsp dried yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • Up to½ pint / 280 ml warm water
  • 12 oz / 340 g strong plain white flour
  • 4 oz / 110 g fine cornmeal, polenta or plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • extra flour for kneading
  • beaten egg or milk, to glaze

Filling

  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2–3 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz / 340 g firm ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 green or red pepper, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • fl oz / 70 ml dry white wine
  • pinch of powdered saffron
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz / 230 g freshly cooked mussels or 4 fresh sardines or 8 oz / 230 g tuna fish or 1–2 cans sardines in olive oil or 7 oz / 200 g can tuna fish in brine

Method

To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast and sugar on the warm water, and let it stand for 10–15 minutes. Put the flours, salt, oil and eggs in a food processor with the yeast liquid, and process until combined to a dough. Turn out and knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface, then put the dough in a greased bowl, inside a large polythene bag, or cover with a clean, damp tea-towel. Put in a warm place to rise for an hour or so. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling.

Cook the onion in some of the olive oil until soft and transparent, and add the tomatoes and pepper, the white wine, saffron and a little seasoning. Cook gently for 30–40 minutes until you have a well-flavoured stew. Allow it to cool. If using fresh sardines or tuna fish, fry in another pan in a little more olive oil. Fillet the sardines or flake the tuna fish. Canned sardines or tuna will simply need draining.

When the dough has risen sufficiently, put it on a floured work surface and knock it back. Cut it in two, and roll out one piece to a 10–12 in / 25.5–30.5 cm.circle. Place it on a greased, floured baking sheet. Spoon half the tomato and pepper stew on to the dough and spread it to within ½ in / 1 cm. or so of the edge.

Arrange the fish on top, and cover with the remaining stew. Wet the edges of the dough. Roll out another circle of the same size, and lay it on top, pressing it down to seal it. Make one or two slits in the top for steam to escape. Brush with egg or milk and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F / Mark 4 for 30 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Serve cut into wedges. It tastes best when served warm or just cold.

Variation

If you are lucky enough to be able to get salt cod, then instead of a tomato and pepper stew, onions only can be cooked until soft and then moistened with the wine and saffron. The flaked, cooked salt cod can then be arranged on top with raisins or sultanas.