The Perfect Food? Argentine Empanadas
The shape is the key to the content: (Clockwise, from top) beef, chicken, ham and cheese
I’m not exactly the hardest person to please when it comes to cuisine. Often, the simplest dish will be the one that satisfies me the most. And that’s the case with the empanada
— a type of pastry stuffed with any of a variety of non-sweet fillings.
I’m talking, in this case, specifically about the empanadas from Argentina — and especially in Buenos Aires, where I’m currently wandering the streets and filling my gullet. In just about any neighborhood here, you’ll find small shops that specialize in these perfectly sized, perfectly satisfying creations, which may serve as a snack (if you eat one or two) or a meal (if you eat more, which I usually do). What I love about the local variety here is that they are baked, flakey and fresh, and come with fillings including chicken, beef, ham and cheese or vegetables — so just about any palate can be satisfied.
To make these little things even cuter, they’re frequently made in shapes that indicate what the filling is (see the photo). My Argentine colleagues may grow tired of my continual search for yet another empanada stand, but I intend to keep going until I’m on that American Airlines flight back to New York City (where, happily, there is an Argentine bakery a few blocks away from my home).