Mediterranean Empanadas

Over the weekend, I was invited to an Oscar party, and asked to bring an appetizer. I brought my favorite standby recipe, which I developed as a savory alternative to meat-based empanadas, and thought I’d share it.

1-2 sheets of puff pastry (you could also use wonton wrappers, frozen pie shells or probably crescent roll dough, if you keep them on hand. I like puff pastry because it’s flaky, buttery, and, once made/bought, substantially more impressive than the initial investment.)

about 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
can of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 small red pepper finely chopped (roasted marinated works, if you have it, but fresh is fine too.)
pepper to taste
1 T. basil or oregano
one beaten egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut puff pastry into squares— about a dozen per sheet of boxed frozen puff pastry. Mix all other ingredients except the egg in a small bowl. It should be moist, but not soaking. If it’s too wet, they’ll be soggy and heavy instead of light and crispy. Place a smaller amount than you think (about 1 teaspoon) in the center of each square. Fold dough over the filling and crimp the edges with a fork. Brush with beaten egg. Place on lined cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with balsamic vinaigrette for dipping.

This is a very serviceable recipe— you could substitute sundried tomatoes for the red pepper, you could substitute fresh/frozen asparagus or spinach (not canned— too juicy) and a squeeze of fresh or bottled lemon juice for the artichoke hearts. It has never failed to be the most-talked-about appetizer at any gathering to which I’ve brought it, and keeping the ingredients on hand doesn’t take much.

c. 2016. All rights reserved.

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