Arepas With Green Tomato and Romescu Salsas

Spring 2015

From chef-partner Kris Wessel of Oolite in Miami Beach, Fla.

Arepa filling (recipe follows)
Green tomato salsa (recipe follows)
Romescu salsa (recipe follows)
Arepa dough (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon safflower oil, for frying

To make arepas, make the filling first. This can be done in advance and refrigerated. Assemble your salsas. Make the dough last.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. 

When ready to assemble arepas, take about a golf-ball-size piece of dough and flatten it into a disc. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle. Fold the sides of the disc to the middle, enclosing the filling. Press down on the dough to flatten and shape into a 3-inch disc. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.

To cook the arepas, pour 1 tablespoon of safflower oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the arepas until both sides are browned. Keep them warm in the oven on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Serve the arepas warm, sliced into four pieces, with Green Tomato and Romescu salsas on the side.

Yield: Makes 20 (3-inch) arepas

AREPA FILLING

1 teaspoon safflower oil
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup corn (freshly roasted is best)
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt

Place the oil in a skillet and turn the heat to low. Add the jalapeño and garlic. Cook until the jalapeño softens and you can smell the garlic, about 3 minutes. Add the green tomatoes and corn and cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. When the mixture cools, fold in the cheddar cheese and salt. Set aside. 

GREEN TOMATO SALSA

6 green tomatoes, chopped
2 limes, juice only
1/4 cup minced parsley
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss. Season to taste. 

ROMESCU SALSA 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

4 jalapeños, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
2 red peppers, roasted
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup skin-on unsalted almonds, toasted
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Place the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat with the onion, garlic, and jalapeños. Cook until the onions become translucent and you can smell the garlic, about 10 minutes. In a blender, add this mixture with remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. 

AREPA DOUGH

1 cup masa harina or masarepa
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1-1/4 cups warm water

Mix the masa harina with the cheddar, Parmesan, and salt. Add the butter, oil, and water, and knead until you have a smooth mass. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes before forming into arepas.

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