Friday, August 27, 2010

Fresh corn pancakes (not arepas, but don't tell my kids)

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Last year Weston, my eight-year-old, did a school research project on Venezuela. While he was working on the obligatory food section of his report, he and I were both intrigued by the description of Venezuelan arepas. Griddled corn flour bread, often stuffed with cheese or meat...sounded really tasty.

I'll be the first to admit that I've never had an authentic Venezuelan arepa. To appease Weston, I called these fresh corn pancakes arepas when I made them, but if I'm to believe the photos I found online, they're not even close. True Venezuelan arepas are made with a special, finely milled corn flour, most commonly Harina PAN. They're more like bread, whereas these are more like fritters. Let's say mine are "inspired by" the idea of arepas. Whatever you call them, you'll like them.

I happened to have leftover corn pulp on hand - the stuff that was left in the sieve after making the creamy corn soup with truffles for Trufflepalooza 2010. I don't expect you to go to such great lengths. Fresh corn cut off the cob and whizzed in the blender or food processor will do nicely, and in fact it will probably taste better - I'd already sucked much of the flavor out of my corn before making these pancakes. In a pinch, I bet you could use defrosted frozen corn instead of fresh. Try it and let me know.

Fresh corn pancakes
  • 3-4 ears of fresh, sweet corn
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • canola or grapeseed oil, for frying
Cut the corn kernels off the cobs. Put the corn kernels into a food processor or blender and process briefly. You want them to be broken up but not fully pureed; leave it chunky. Put the corn into a large mixing bowl and add the egg, flour, cornmeal, shredded cheese and salt. Mix well.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, fry dollops of the mixture in the oil until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Blot briefly on a plate lined with paper towels, then serve immediately.

5 comments:

Monet said...

Don't you just love learning new things? I had never heard of these before, and now I'm eager to try making your "adaptation" of them. They sound tasty, and I hope to be able to try the real thing one day!

Nancy said...

Hi Erika!!!

If you are looking for wonderful arepas, try Mil Jugos in Santa Ana - they are absolutely wonderful and their "smoothies" can't be beat!!

Margaret Studer said...

Erika, have you considered using a dry masa flour in place of the flour or cornmeal, or both?
For your readers who do not know, masa is a fine corn flour that you make tortillas and such with. It is not corn starch, but it finer than cornmeal.

sarah said...

I used to eat arepas all the time when I lived in Spain. The Canary Islands call Venezuela "La Octava Isla" and there is a big connection between the two places. I love them and my favorites were the ones that had fresh goat cheese and avocado. Arepas can be either fried or baked and both ways taste delicious. You can buy the flour in all the stores in Spain and I'm guessing you can get it in certain stores here as well. My friends and I have made them before, but the "areperias" are the best place to enjoy them! Anyway, your recipe sounds delicious!

Erika said...

@Monet - I do indeed love learning new things. Blogging about food has definitely helped me stretch my boundaries.

@Nancy - thanks for the tip. I don't get to Santa Ana often, but you never know!

@Margaret - great idea, I will try that. I tried this recipe with all flour and with a mix of flour/cornmeal and preferred the crunch of the cornmeal, but maybe masa would give a less chewy result than wheat flour.

@Sarah - now I know what we can make the next time I see you!

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