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. Flying saucers could descend and start incinerating your surrounding area, but—until you’ve had at least a bite or two—running for cover can wait a second.
There is certainly no shortage of fried/baked foods (especially in NYC). However, amongst the plethora of empanada restaurants to choose from, there is one important thing to keep in mind before getting carried away: all empanadas, though perhaps alluring in their oily, hot, and salty state, are not created equal. What it all comes down to, are the seemingly easily concealed building blocks of the empanada—its ingredients.
What exactly do we mean by ‘high-quality ingredients’? The phrase gets thrown around a lot in the food industry. At Empanada Loca when we say our dishes are of top notch quality, it’s because we start with grass-fed humanely raised meats and fresh, raw vegetables and fruits that come from good sustainable sources that minimize the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. These ingredients naturally have more nutrients and protein. What we don’t use are large-scale factory processed meats and frozen vegetables and other ingredients that often have dangerous additives and cheap fillers derivative of corn, soy, and chemicals.
When a diet of corn, soy, and grains are fed to beef cattle, they tend to be much less healthy than grass-fed cattle. These grass-fed cattle are not cruelly confined to a stall for their whole lives and are able to graze outdoors for their food. This foraging produces meat that is much lower in unhealthy saturated fat and two to six times higher in omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains a significant amount more vitamins and antioxidants. Although the nutritional value in frozen vegetables is similar to the nutritional value found in fresh produce, we strive to use only fresh produce for the sake of the superior flavor and texture that comes with non-blanched, frozen ingredients.
Unfortunately, there are those out there who use these inferior meats and produce in their cooking. They give up quality for ‘easier’ generic substitutes and try to hide them through the use of excess sugar, salts, and saturated fats. So, when it comes time for that mouth-watering, hand-held meal wrapped in bread, don’t be fooled. Taste and feel the difference––premium empanadas start with thoughtfully selected, high-quality ingredients.