Crab, Corn and Brie Empanadas

Blue crab meat is the prized ingredient in this dish

With its vast coastal marshes, bayous and estuaries, South Louisiana is a haven for crabbing enthusiasts. The region’s warm waters and abundant food sources make it an ideal environment for blue crabs, a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Crabbing in South Louisiana is not just a pastime; it’s a cultural tradition passed down through generations. Families often gather on weekends, armed with nets, bait and patience, to harvest these delectable crustaceans. The experience is as much about bonding and enjoying nature as it is about the catch.

The sweet, tender meat of blue crabs is a prized ingredient in a variety of dishes, from gumbo to crab boils. Today, we’ll use this local delicacy to create a fusion dish that marries the flavors of South Louisiana with a touch of elegance: Crab, Corn and Brie Empanadas, served with a zesty Tomatillo Salsa.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup fresh crab meat, picked over for shells
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 6 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed and cubed
  • 1 pack of prepared empanada dough
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INGREDIENTS FOR TOMATILLO SALSA:

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

PREPARATION: Serves 6

  1. Pick the meat from the leftover crabs, sifting through the meat to ensure that no shells remain
  2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic, shallots, bell peppers, and jalapeño, sautéing until fragrant and softened, about 2 minutes.
  4. While the vegetables are cooking, place the husked corn directly on a grill or on your gas stove to add some char to the corn. Once charred, slice the corn from the corn cob.
  5. Stir in the corn and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the crab meat and sautéed mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. On a floured surface, roll out the empanada dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. If the dough did not come precut, use a round cutter (about 4-5 inches in diameter) to cut out circles.
  10. Prior to placing the filling on the empanada dough, cut a small wedge of the brie and smear it on the dough.
  11. Then, place about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each dough circle.
  12. Fold the dough over to form a half-moon shape and crimp the edges with a fork to seal.
  13. Place the empanadas on the prepared baking sheet.
  14. Beat an egg with a tablespoon of water and brush the tops of the empanadas with the egg wash.
  15. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tomatillo Salsa:

  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeño on a baking sheet. Broil until the vegetables are charred and softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender.
  4. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Blend until smooth.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve the empanadas warm with a side of tomatillo salsa. Enjoy the fusion of South Louisiana’s bounty with a gourmet twist!