This arepa is a different animal, with a life and a history of its own.
Today we welcome to WOT Mariana Velásquez Villegas who is here to share with us her recipe for Arepa De Choclo (Sweet Corn Arepas).
The word choclo or chocolo comes from the Quechua language, which was spoken in the Incan empire for a millennium and is one of the few surviving indigenous languages in Latin America. We Colombians have adopted the word, as have many other cultures in the hemisphere. And for all, chocolo means the same: sweet corn.
And sweet it is indeed. So much so that nowadays, just about every street fair in New York City has a sign that reads “Mozzarepas,” a registered name founded thirty-some years ago by a Colombian family in New Jersey.
Chocolo arepas are sweet and cheesy. I lean toward adding both queso fresco and Manchego cheese to the dough for a more interesting taste, rather than mozzarella. But I leave it up to you. . . . The key is to get your griddle very hot so that a nice crusty outer layer forms. In my desire to make this a full meal—breakfast for dinner, that is—I toss together a tomato and avocado salad to cut through the richness.
Arepa De Choclo (Sweet Corn Arepas)
- 1 cup sweet yellow corn kernels
- 1 cup pre-cooked yellow cornmeal or Masa Arepa
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup quesito or fresh ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Manchego or Parmesan cheese
- 3 tbsp butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
- 2 Hass avocados, pitted, peeled, and cubed
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grind the corn in a food processor until the kernels break apart and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the ground corn to a large bowl and add the cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, the ricotta cheese, and Manchego cheese.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients to combine. Add the 3 tablespoons butter and the milk and to stir until the mixture comes together. Do not overmix. In the beginning, your mixture will look like a very loose pancake batter. Don’t fret, the cornmeal will take a few minutes to absorb the liquid and achieve a better consistency. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the raw tomato and avocado salad: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes and avocados. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Preheat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-highheat. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter until bubbles form. Measure . cup of the batter and pour into the pan — pancake style. You can fry the arepas 2 at a time or more, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the skillet. Cook the arepas until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. You may need to turn down the heat as you go so that the pan doesn’t get too hot from batch to batch. Place the finished arepas on the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- To serve, plate each arepa and top with a spoonful of the tomato and avocado salad, the crumbled quesito, and cilantro leaves.
— Mariana Velásquez Villegas
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