The essence of an empanada is simplicity. It directly translates from the Spanish, Galician, and Portuguese verb empanar, meaning “to wrap in bread.” Despite the simplicity of this stuffed, golden-crusted pastry, it’s considered to be a culturally versatile dish–varying in size, shape, filling, dough, and cooking method (depending on the geographic location in which it’s being prepared).
When salt and fat is fried or baked into a handheld pocket of crisp-ified dough, it’s easy to get excited. You know the feeling? All background noises hush, you go soft in the knees, the mouth to starts to water, the heart rate increases, and basically nothing else matters until you’ve obtained that fried, salty fix.