Chef's Recipes

Salt cod empanadillas

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for salt cod empanadillas by Brigitte Hafner from Gertrude Street Enoteca.

By Brigitte Hafner
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking plus resting
  • Serves 16
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Salt cod empanadillas
When making the dough, aim for a very soft and smooth consistency. If necessary, add more of each flour to form a workable dough. The filling can be made a day ahead. You’ll need to begin this recipe a day and a half ahead.


  • 250 ml (1 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 250 ml fino sherry
  • 185 gm (1¼ cups) each of plain and self-raising flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
Salt cod filling
  • 1 Sebago potato (about 400gm)
  • 750 gm salt cod, cut into 5cm-thick pieces, soaked in cold water for 36 hours, changing water 4 times, drained
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes


  • 1
    For salt cod filling, cover potato with enough cold water in a saucepan. Bring to boil and cook over high heat until potato is soft (20-30 minutes). Drain, peel and mash. Remove skin and bones from salt cod and discard. Set cod aside. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook until soft and golden (6-8 minutes). Add cream, parsley, garlic, chilli and salt cod and simmer, stirring occasionally to break down salt cod, until cream is reduced by two-thirds (10-12 minutes). Add potato and mix to a coarse paste. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.
  • 2
    Combine extra-virgin olive oil, sherry, flours and a pinch of fine sea salt in a bowl, turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. If dough is too sticky, add extra flour. Cover with plastic wrap and stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • 3
    On a lightly floured surface and, working with one 50gm piece of dough at a time, roll to a 5mm-thick round. Place a heaped tablespoon of salt cod mixture in the centre. Brush edges with beaten egg, fold pastry over filling to form a semi-circle, then pleat edges in one direction to seal. Place on a lightly floured tray and repeat with remaining dough and salt cod mixture (you may have some salt cod mixture remaining).
  • 4
    Preheat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 190C. Add 4 pastries, cook until golden (4-6 minutes), drain on absorbent paper, then repeat in batches with remaining pastries. Serve immediately.


Drink Suggestion: A tangy manzanilla such as La Goya, or a fino such as San León. Drink suggestion by James Broadway

  • Author: Brigitte Hafner