Another week, another menu.
Monday: pumpkin and shrimp bisque
Tuesday: the rest of the bisque, with some vegetables
Wednesday: murgh makhanwala
Thursday: various leftovers
Friday: galician tuna empanada and caesar salad
Saturday: red beans and rice with asparagus
Monday’s meal was a triumph on several levels. I chose the recipe specifically to use up a giant can of pumpkin, which, in a fit of fall madness, I’d bought in a 3-pack from Costco (what person who does not like pumpkin pie really needs 6 pounds on hand?) and cracked open to make pumpkin bread for our recent ski trip. It just so happened that I had every other ingredient already in our pantry or freezer, which thrills me. It’s not quite as good as finding the perfect recipe to use up the last bits of ingredients purchased for sundry other meals, but it’s close. And if all that weren’t enough, the soup was extremely tasty. It caused me to make a squash-specific resolution to never again dull knives and risk fingers breaking down a whole butternut or acorn into half-inch cubes to puree in a soup when I could simply open up a can of pumpkin for equally delicious results.
Wednesday’s murgh makhanwala, an Indian recipe clipped from Saveur maybe a year ago, was complicated and fun and turned out well—if virtually indistinguishable from the chicken tikka masala you could get at basically any Indian restaurant in the western world. I enjoyed cooking in a different cuisine and learning how the dish comes together, but I’ll probably leave this one to the restaurants in the future.
The dish I want to share with you this time is Friday’s tuna empanada. Granted, you must have screwed up pretty royally to not love a dish you wrapped in puff pastry,* but whatever. This was flat delicious, quick to make, and I’m positive it helped Bryan’s performance as a driver in the Lemons race the next day. The pastry is crispy and rich, and the filling sort of merges together into hot, savory fabulousness.
*calories in one sheet: 1700
GALICIAN TUNA EMPANADA
[Note: I halved the recipe; it worked great.]
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium plum tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound high-quality canned Spanish tuna packed in olive oil, drained, coarsely flaked
2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled, sliced
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
2 ounces thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto [Our Whole Foods recently started carrying a brand called La Quercia, which is better than any other prosciutto I can recall.]
1 large egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, pepper, onion, and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables are soft, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Add tuna and sliced eggs; toss gently to distribute evenly. Season filling with salt and pepper; set aside to cool completely.
Spray rimless baking sheet with nonstick spray. [I just plopped the empanada on some parchment paper.] Roll out 1 pastry sheet on floured surface to 12×16-inch rectangle. Transfer to baking sheet. Arrange ham over pastry, leaving 1-inch border. Spread filling atop ham, leaving 1-inch border. Brush pastry edges with beaten egg. Roll out second pastry sheet to 12×15-inch rectangle. Place atop filling, pressing on edges to seal. Fold 1/2 inch of bottom pastry edge up over top pastry; crimp edges to seal. Brush top with beaten egg. Cut eight 2-inch slashes in top pastry. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Bake empanada uncovered until crust is browned and crisp, about 25 minutes. Slide onto platter.
I’m not sure this photo does it justice, but my mouth started watering just looking at it and remembering, so I’ll leave it up. Photos of most of the other meals are posted in my funemployment album.
[Recipe source: Bon Appetit]