I made this Spicy Open Faced Crab Empanada as one of 5 or 6 other tapas dishes for a patio party. It is delicious and you can make the pastry and the filling separately the day before you serve. Just cover the baked pastry with aluminum over night and assemble empanadas the next day with the reheated filling. It is yummy and adds loads of color to your tapas table.

Open-Faced Crab Empanadas

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Course: Small Bites
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Degree of Difficulty : Easy
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 14 oz package frozen puff pastry (this package will have 2 sheets)
  • 1 whole egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic clove grated
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 small red pepper cut into 1/4" dice
  • 1 small green pepper cut into 1/4" dice
  • 2 tspn smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tspn Asian chili sauce or Sriracha Sauce
  • 1/2 lb lump crab meat
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Gather all ingredients before starting recipe.
  • Defrost 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry according to package directions. Reserve the 2nd sheet for another use.
  • Pre heat oven to 400°
  • Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

Tarte Shells

  • Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut one 12 x 4 inch and two 2 x 12" inch strips.
  • Place 12 x 14" strip on a flat sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  • Brush the 12 x 4 inch strip with egg wash and lay the long strips on the long edges. Prick the bottom of the puff pastry with a fork.
  • Brush the sides and bottom of the pastry with the egg wash and place the pastry in your freezer for 15 minutes.


  • While the pastry is in the freezer, heat olive oil on medium high heat until it slightly shimmers.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, then add chopped onion and sauté until the onion has softened, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the bell peppers, stir to combine, then cover and cook about 8 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. Uncover, remove from the heat and stir in the paprika and Asian chili sauce or sriracha sauce, stirring for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Return to heat and add crab meat and stir gently until the crab has been fully combined with the pepper mixture and has been warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to fill the baked pastry.
  • Remove pastry from freezer and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the pastry sheet is golden brown.


  • Allow the baked pastry to come to room temperature and gently reheat the crab and pepper mixture.
  • When the pastry is cool, spoon the crab mixture down the center of the pastry, spreading the filling to the edges.


  • While still on the flat sheet, cut 2 inch wide slices of the filled pastry with a serrated knife and place the slices on a long platter. Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve at room temperature.

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