If you read my last post, Arepas, Take Two!, you will know that I’m feeling a little obsessed over these things. Since making them, I have been wanting to try another version. Several lifetimes ago, I waited tables in a French restaurant in St. Louis: Bernard’s Bar & Bistro.
The chef, Bernard, used to make fried polenta as a side dish for some of his meals. One time, in the kitchen, our manager Susan was having some as a snack, with raspberry jam. I remember thinking that it was a terrible idea, but one bite and I was sold. Polenta, crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, ever so slightly salty, with a dollop of raspberry jam on top was just about the best thing I had ever had in my life.
Now here I am, having fun with Arepas, and knowing that I can come pretty close to that experience from so many years ago. Making them is pretty much exactly the same as making the other arepas, with just a few minor tweaks. Instead of the Mexican cheese blend, I used Queso Fresco, which you can find at your local Mexican grocery store. And I fried them in unsalted butter. That’s it! They make a wonderful after school snack, especially at my house, because my kids aren’t convinced this combination is a good idea, so I get to eat almost all of them myself. Relax. I halved the recipe. You can still make them this way for a savory snack or breakfast side, by the way. These are the ingredients you’ll need, plus a good raspberry jam (I like the raspberry jam from Trader Joe’s. It’s SO good.), and maybe even some plain yogurt.
Arepas con Queso Fresco
- 1 cup Precooked Yellow Cornmeal flour (Masarepa or P.A.N.)
- 1 tiny pinch salt
- 3/4 cup shredded Queso Fresco
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons water
- Unsalted butter for the pan
Mix the first three ingredients in a glass bowl, then add the water, mixing with your fingers until there are no cornmeal lumps. Let the cornmeal rest for about 5 minutes to allow the cornmeal to set. It will feel wet, and that’s okay.
Put a goodly amount (1 Tablespoon?) of butter in a skillet over medium heat.
When skillet is hot and butter is sizzling, make golf-ball sized balls of dough, flatten them in the palm of your hand to about 1/2 inch, and fry them in the unsalted butter, about 5 minutes on the first side, and about 5 minutes more on the second side.
Makes about 8 arepas.
Enjoy with raspberry (or strawberry) jam. And maybe a dollop of plain yogurt.
Woooooooow Angelita!!!! I just saw the waffles also….LUCKY HUBBY!!!!!
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I’m lucky too, because a chef always likes an appreciative family!
Yes, I’m one of the lucky beneficiaries of all this experimentation, but keep in mind that we have to eat the duds and fails, too. 🙂
Angela, thanks for ensuring continued life for the adjective ‘goodly’, which is a beautiful usage.
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NAILED IT!! Well…I didn’t really but they were still so yummy and I can’t wait to try again! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
Olivia, you DID nail it!!! If I can get my act together, I want to post the photo of cutie-pie Henry enjoying his mama-made arepa! Love you!