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2-Bite Codfish Empanadas for Cocktails

May 6, 2011 by Joan Nova in Appetizers, Nuevo Latino, Spanish/Tapas | 19 Comments

Empanada from Spain and empanada from Latin and South America are similar in concept in that they are both filled-pastries. Where they differ is size. In Spain, empanada is made the size of a cookie sheet or large pizza pan and is meant to be apportioned out. South of the border, they’re made to be eaten individually. You wouldn’t want to share one!

Being half Spanish, I grew up eating the Spanish version…Empanada Gallega with a bacalao (codfish) filling. As an adult, living and traveling in NY, FL, PR and South America, I became very familiar with the handheld version usually filled with ground beef.

Here’s what happened when I melded the 2 traditions — the Spanish filling with the convenience fun of a bite-size treat.


Cooking the cod with peppers and onions and those beautiful saffrón threads.

It was a good idea to pulse (lightly puree) the filling to make it easier for stuffing the small shell. 

* You can make your own pastry shell or you can buy ‘mini’ pre-made shells in the Latin frozen food section of your supermarket. If you can’t find the mini size (about 2″ in diameter), you can trim the standard size which is about an inch or inch-and-a-half larger.

Note: They freeze well so make a batch and have them on hand.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Katie says:

    Here in Argentina, we often call these empanaditas de copetín. I’m not usually a fan of fish empanadas, but these sound interesting!
    Katie recently posted..Tarta de Cebolla y Queso Onion and Cheese QuickbreadMy Profile

  2. Empandas are very handy and with very few bites – Katie is right, here in Uruguay are called also the “copetin” :)
    Love those fishy ones.


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  3. bellini says:

    At Christmas I had Portuguese baccal codfish balls, something I didn’t think I would enjoy..but I had many baccala codfish balls. Therefore I know I would love these wrapped up in pastry!

  4. norma says:

    I also make the copetin and as you know it is a regular in my kitchen. I cannot wait to try your filling.

  5. I’m reading this before going out to dinner and they’ve made me feel very hungry. A stash of these in the freezer would be a very good thing to have.
    Sally – My Custard Pie recently posted..Custard – a tale of unrequited loveMy Profile

  6. Buela says:

    You know I couldn’t wait for you
    to post empanadas.
    We (Cuban side of family) made bacoloafritos which were deep fried and delicious. Today I would rather use this version of empanadas…and I always have the shells for my meat empanadas. Thanks for the post.

  7. Years ago we used to go to an restaurant in Houston that specialized in empanadas. I have always had a special place in my heart for them and you can use almost anything for the fillings. I never thought about them as finger food for cocktails. Great idea Joan.
    My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..The Chef custom designed a wine dinner just for us at Bistro 41 in Fort Myers- FloridaMy Profile

  8. redkathy says:

    Hi Joan, Always wanted to try preparing Empanadas. Love cod so these would be quite perfect in my opinion!

    Have a wonderful Mothers Day!
    redkathy recently posted..Tripled Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Turkey and BaconMy Profile

  9. These are perfectly delicious little bites, very clever!

  10. Any way you cook baccala I’m ready to eat it. I did really like your empanadas. I’ve copied the recipe and want to try them. My daughter loves baccala also and I would love to make them for her.

    Thanks for the recipe and since I got to eat them I know how good they are.

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  11. Robin Sue says:

    A very flavorful dish! I will have to look for those pastry shells which makes it so much easier than having to make my own. I love that these are baked and not fried AND can be frozen!
    Robin Sue recently posted..Cookbook Review- Guy Fieri Food- Giveaway!My Profile

  12. I love empanadas in all sizes!! For fish, I make them with tuna, with EXACTLY the same recipe. Incredible!
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  13. Anamaris says:

    These look and sound delicioso. I’ve never had a fish filled empanada and I’ve been eyeing the bacalao at the grocery store. It may be about that time!
    What brand of empanada dough do you use? That pastry looks beautiful.
    Anamaris recently posted..Out and about- PortlandMy Profile

  14. Love empanadas. Wouldn’t have thought of codfish as a stuffing but it looks great. Love the colours
    Kitchen Butterfly recently posted..Happy Mother’s Day with S’Mores SemifreddoMy Profile

  15. Oh my! I will come over for apps & cocktails if you come over for dinner!
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  16. J Campos says:

    Last November I went to Vigo, Spain, and tasted those Empanadas de Bacalao. Very tasty!
    J Campos recently posted..Gomes de Sa Codfish recipeMy Profile

  17. Phil says:

    Could I use puff pastry?

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