Romina's Emapanadas, photo by Randy Lewis
Type Peru + empanada into a search engine and get 86,800 + recipes, but why? Instead, go to the Westchester Farmers Market, find Romina Foods, and discover fine Peruvian empanadas with an American twist. Empanadas are a cultural favorite for many Spanish-speaking cultures; this versatile yet simple food, prepared sweet, savory, or spicy may be served at a banquet, a buffet and are very handy for the lunch bucket.
The first difference you will notice with Romina’s empanadas is that they are baked, not fried, and the flaky and luscious crust is made from unbleached flour. The menu selection is inspired by the bounty of the farmers market and features spinach, mushroom, zucchini, peppers and onions. There are options for the vegan, with cheese for the vegetarian and savory meat for the carnivore. Arrive early and try an egg and bacon empanada for a breakfast/brunch option. You can enjoy them at the market or purchase a selection to take home and enjoy. The empanadas are individually wrapped and have simple, clear instructions on the label for reheating. Her sauce is the Rocoto version of Aji is sublime and richly flavored, then finishes with a satisfying burn. Rocoto peppers appear to be smallish bell peppers, thick skinned and a sweet aroma, but do not let their appearance fool you; they register between 50,000 and 250,000 on the scoville scale. The skill required to create a well-balanced sauce such as hers is a sure sign of her talents.
When you meet the charming Romina you will note she is young to be so skilled; she must get it from her mother who helps her at the stall. As a recent university graduate, and frustrated by the lack of employment, Romina researched several career options and settled on selling empanadas at the Farmers’ markets starting in May of this year. In four months, her little venture has moved her in to three more markets and she is pushing forward, proof that her empanadas are soon to be a staple in many a kitchen. When you pick up your empanadas be sure to enjoy a glass of fresh homemade lemonade to cool your pallet and refresh you while you shop.
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