Recipe By: Emeril Lagasse (Food TV 8/11/02)
1 cup masa harina
1 tablespoon Essence of Emeril or other Southwest seasoning
1 cup hot milk
1 tablespoon bacon fat -- warmed
1 tablespoon minced serrano or jalapeno chiles
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
Pinch each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup queso blanco or mozzarella cheese -- divided
1/3 cup finely shredded cooked pork or ham -- optional
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Sour cream for garnish -- optional
Guacamole for garnish -- optional
Chunky hot salsa or picante sauce -- optional
In a large bowl, combine the masa, Essence, and sugar. Whisk in the milk, using as few strokes as possible. Add the bacon grease, queso blanco, roast pork or ham if used, serrano or jalapeno, and garlic and stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the dough. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the dough together into a ball.
Using your hands, form the dough into smaller balls and form into smooth patties 4-inches in diameter, about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat about 1/4-inch of oil in a large, heavy skillet (cast iron preferably) over medium heat. Cook the arepas in batches until golden, about 6 minutes per side, turning and lowering the heat as necessary if they begin to brown too quickly, and pressing down with a spatula to flatten slightly as they cook. Remove and drain on paper towels, seasoning lightly with a pinch of salt and Essence. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil as needed.
Sprinkle each arepa with some of the remaining cheese and serve hot with the desired condiments (sour cream, guacamole, salsa).
Copyright © 2001 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved