Steal This Recipe® Crab Empanadas | Rosa Mexicano

December 22, 2011

From Chef Roberto Santibañez, these are great for the holidays served as snacks or appetizers; empanadas can be shared by everyone

Empanadas are popular Latin fried stuffed pastries served as a main dish or as an appetizer. Although they are thought to have originated in Spain, several other Latin countries have their own versions stuffed with cheese, meat, or seafood. At Rosa Mexicano in New York City, they've got a great recipe for Empanadas de Jaiba (Crab Empanadas)! These are also great as part of a "tapas" meal. Served as snacks or appetizers, empanadas can be shared by everyone.

About the chef: Chef Roberto Santibañez was born in Mexico City and began cooking at an early age, encouraged by his grandmother who traveled extensively and shared her recipes from abroad. By the time Santibañez was in high school, he was already catering parties for his friends and family. After college, Santibañez left for Paris, France, to gain a classical culinary foundation at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu where he obtained three diplomas with honors and worked at several restaurants including La Bourgogne. He continued his culinary studies at Le Notre where he received two additional certificates.

Following two years as the executive chef of the Henbury Estate in Cheshire, England, Santibañez returned to Mexico City to cook for the Foreign Affairs Ministry and El Olivo restaurant where he rediscovered the complexities of Mexican cuisine. "I was ready to combine all that I had learned with everything I felt in my heart," explains Santibañez. He soon opened his own restaurants; El Sax, La Circunstancia, and Restobar Salamandra in downtown Mexico City.

Seeking new challenges, Santibañez left Mexico in 1997 to become the executive chef of Fonda San Miguel in Austin, Texas. Santibañez has also traveled extensively as an ambassador for Mexican cuisine, presenting lectures and demonstrations at the Culinary Institute of America and other institutions throughout the US, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Australia.

In 2002, Santibañez joined the team at Rosa Mexicano as culinary director continuing Rosa's rich tradition of Mexican cooking, while incorporating the vivid regional and multicultural currents that make up modern Mexican cuisine.

Chef’s note: Rosa Mexicano serves Empanadas de Jaiba with peach pico de gallo and salsa verde, but you can substitute your favorite salsa.

Rosa Mexicano 
9 E. 18th Street 
New York City, NY 10003 
212 533 3350

Empanadas de Jaiba is served at Rosa Mexicano for $12.00. 
This recipe makes 2 restaurant servings as an entrée and serves 3 to 4 as an appetizer.

Crab Filling Ingredients: 
1 oz butter 
1/2 cup white onion, chopped 
1 Tbsp jalapeno, seeded and chopped 
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
3/4 tsp crumbled oregano 
½ cup cream
1/2 cup crème fraiche 
1/2 lb jumbo lump crab meat 
Salt to taste 
Yields 1 1/2 cups of Crab Empanada Filling

Empanada Ingredients: 
1 1/2 cups Crab Empanada Filling 
Turnover (or empanada) dough, frozen (can be found in most supermarkets) 
Canola oil, for pan frying

Steal This Recipe® Step-by-Step Instructions:
Crab Filling Instructions: 
Heat the butter in a sauce pan until it starts to color slightly. 
Add onion and jalapeno to sauce pan and cook until onion is soft and translucent. 
Add the cumin and oregano and cook for 1 minute. 
Add cream, bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes at medium heat (in order to infuse well with other ingredients).
Season liberally with salt. 
Mix the crab meat with the crème fraiche.
Toss the crab mixture into the sauce pan, carefully keeping the lumps as whole as possible. 
Add salt to taste.

Empanada Instructions: 
Defrost turnover dough until soft to the touch, pliable to fold. 
Remove 1 sheet of dough. 
Fill each sheet with 2 tablespoons of the crab filling. 
Fold over and seal, crimping the edges with the tines of a fork. 
Over medium to high heat (not smoking) in a heavy bottom sauté pan add enough canola oil to cover the empanada half way, approximately 1/4 inch. 
Heat the oil until approximately 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Add empanadas, one at a time, and fry until golden brown. 
Remove from oil and place atop paper towels until slightly cooled. 
Serve and enjoy!