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I heart smoked salmon. As a child of the Pacific Northwest, I grew up on salmon, usually purchased and prepared within 24-48 hours of being pulled out of the sea.

My father used to grill this incredibly fresh fish over charcoal with butter, garlic, pepper and lemon. He taught me the importance of not overcooking the fish because there is a very fine line between succulent and dry. This is still one of my favorite ways to prepare this king of fish.

The other very common way to have your salmon in the PNW is warm smoked. Since I moved to the East Coast, I have learned to appreciate the cold smoked salmon (aka lox) that is so much more common here. However, I still love a nice smokey warm smoked fish most of all.

I made this particular recipe for a spa party in celebration of my friend Pam’s birthday. I am lucky enough to have an awesome husband who smokes his own fish year-round on a 500 pound smoker imported from Texas. If you can find freshly smoked salmon, it is delicious in this dish. Alternatively, you can buy warm smoked salmon from your local fish monger.

Also, you can make this dish even easier by purchasing premade empanada dough. However, I will point out that it is really very simple and inexpensive to make you own. Also, when you make your own dough, you can make your empanadas as big or small as you like. Made small, these empanadas make a great “2 bite” hors d’oeuvre. Made big, this recipe makes a nice meal.

Once you have all of your ingredients assembled, this dish is a snap to put together. You get a whole lot of TA DA for not a lot of work.

Smoked Salmon Empanadas with Boursin and Spinach
Adapted from a recipe by Bitchin’ Camero

This recipe is easily doubled.

  • 1 batch of empanada dough
  • 12 oz. warm smoked salmon (not lox)
  • 1 package (5.2 oz.) boursin
  • 5 oz. of fresh spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. cold water

Preheat the oven to 375° and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil and grease it lightly.

Set out all of your ingredients.

Whisk the egg and the water together in a small bowl and set aside.

Roll out your dough and cut in rounds large or small depending on what size you want for the final empanada. I used a 3 inch circle to make the empanadas for Pam’s party.

Now, you’re ready to stuff your empanadas. Yep, that’s it.

As with most dumpling-like things, you want to be careful not to over-fill them or they’ll be hard to seal and may explode in the oven.

Lay out all of your dough on your work surface, then place a piece of salmon, a few spinach leaves and some Boursin on each.

Now, brush a bit of water along the inner edges. This will make the dough sticky and easier to seal. Fold the dough over into a half-moon shape. I find it is easiest to simply seal the edge with the tines of a fork, but if you want to try for a fancier edge, go for it!

Place the formed empanadas on the prepared cookie sheet, making sure they’re about 2 inches apart. They will puff up some, but not a lot.

Finally, brush each empanada with the egg wash, ensuring the tops are evenly coated and sprinkle with a little kosher salt.

This will give them a beautiful shiny, brown surface.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through baking. Remove to a rack to cool.

 

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