Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Egg or Cheese Arepas
Contributed by: Yesid Mosquera and Kevin Cuesta
For tortilla base:
2 cups corn meal (harina de maiz)
2 pinches salt
1 or 2 pinches sugar
2 cups water
Butter or corn oil
1 egg, per person, or
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
Make tortillas: Mix corn meal, salt and sugar, then stir in water until well combined. To make cheese arepas, also mix in a handful of shredded cheese. Dough should have the consistency of Play-Doh; if it does not, mix in more water or corn meal until it does.
Heat a flat pan to medium and put a pat of butter on to melt, or drip some corn oil.
Roll dough into balls: slightly smaller than a golf ball for cheese arepas, and slightly larger than a golf ball for egg arepas.
Flatten each ball into a circle. That can be done with two cutting boards and a piece of plastic, such as a 1-gallon food storage bag cut open into one long rectangle. Lay the plastic over a cutting board, and put the ball of dough on it. Fold the plastic over the dough, leaving 2 or 3 inches space on all sides, then press the other cutting board over it until it forms a circle.
Pull top layer of plastic off, then peel back bottom layer to release flattened dough. Place on a heated grill and cook, flipping occasionally, until each side is partially cooked (2 to 5 minutes). Remove from grill and give each a light coating of butter and salt.
For egg arepas:
Each egg arepa is made of one tortilla, made about 1/44 inch thick (use 1 1/2-inch ball of dough, and flatten enough to slice through). Cook tortilla until it is almost finished, with the outside sturdy enough to hold. Cut arepa through the center (in the style of pita bread), making an opening only a quarter to a third of the way around the outer edge but cutting all around inside, leaving the other edges intact.
Break open an egg. Carefully pour egg inside pocket of tortilla. Pat a little flour along inside of open edge, and pinch that edge closed.
Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons oil into pan. Return arepa to pan gently and fry on both sides until golden brown and egg is cooked, 5 to 8 minutes.
For cheese arepas:
Use two tortillas for each arepa and cook each about half done. Remove from heat. Put about a tablespoon or two of cheese in center of one, spreading to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Place the other over it. Pat some flour all around the edge, then pinch edge shut. Return to pan and cook until the outside is slightly brown and crispy.
(This recipe was contributed as part of a "Cook of the Week" feature.)