Well, I have really been skimping on the posts lately. (Mainly because of my upcoming test in May.) I was studying tonight and got a little hungry so I decided to make an arepa to use up the last of the tacos al pastor stuffing. Arepas are insanely simple to make and they are the epitome of flexible. Fill them with pulled pork, bacon and eggs, fried fish, or just about anything that you would normally put on a bun. Here I'll give the recipe for making one arepa, but the concept can easily be expanded to make more. Use a 2:3 ratio of cornmeal to water and you'll be on the right track. Add a little more cornmeal to make the patties workable and then fry. It's really that simple.
The trick to making these right is the thickness of the patty before you pan-fry them. If they're too thick you'll end up with a inedible gluey muck in the center of the patty. (In my opinion they are really supposed to be very thin and crunchy, but there are those who would disagree.) Start with patties that are a 1/4 inch thick and see if you like the results. You can change the size of them as you like once you become comfortable with the cooking process. Once they're done cooking split them with a butter knife and fill with your desired additives. That said, a lot of people like them with just a smear of butter too.
Precooked cornmeal is essential to make these. Please note that this is not the usual kind that you would buy at the store. I used Goya brand here, but the "best" brand to use is P.A.N. which can be found at most Latino grocers.
6 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons precooked cornmeal (preferably P.A.N. brand)
A pinch of salt
Arepa filling of your choice or butter
1. Mix water, cornmeal and salt together in a bowl. Sprinkle in a little more cornmeal and mix to get a loose dough.
2. Form the dough into a thin patty, about 1/4 inch thick.
3. Fry the patty in oil or butter about 6 minutes each side, or until the outside is browned and crisp.
4. Drain the arepa on paper towels and let it rest a minute or two.
5. Split the arepa with a butter knife and spread your desired filling in. If you don't use a filling butter works nicely here too.