Thursday, March 31, 2011
Colombian Cornmeal Cakes with Cheese (Arepas de Queso)
What I remember best about a trip to Colombia many years back was the arepas, especially those bought from street vendors. In my view, arepa is to Colombia what pão de queijo is to Brazil. Great for breakfast or for a snack, arepas are made of precooked cornmeal and can be eaten plain, with cheese or many other variety of toppings.
Since this week was spring break, I was able to make the kids more elaborate breakfasts than the usual fruit with bagel and cream cheese. On one of my more adventurous mornings I made the kids cheese arepas with scrambled eggs. I suggest to you these delicacies for your family breakfast this weekend.
Makes 6 small arepas
1 cup Pre-Cooked White Corn Meal
About 1 cup warm water
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup shredded mozzarella
Combine pre-cooked white corn meal with salt in a bowl. Add water little by little mixing and kneading until you obtain a smooth dough. Add butter and knead some more.
Mix in a little of the mozzarella (about 1 Tbsp) into the dough and knead until well incorporated.
Let dough rest for a few minutes.
Divide dough in six parts and shape each into a ball.
Wet your hands and flatten each ball into a disk. Put some of the cheese in the middle and close the disk over the cheese and shape back into a ball.
Again flatten each ball into a disk, gently smoothing around sides. This is more easily done with wet hands.
Preheat a barely oiled cast iron skillet. Cook arepas, about 5 minutes on each side until it forms crust on top and is thoroughly cooked. Serve immediately.