It has been fun experimenting with P.A.N. cornmeal over the past several months. In case you missed my other recipes, I first made Fresh Strawberry Pie for dessert, and then I made a great brunch recipe, Lemon Blueberry Loaf. It was time to make something more savory.
I had never heard of an arepa before let along cooked or eaten one. It’s so exciting to step out of your comfort zone and to be a food explorer. Native foods are a great way to get a feel for a particular country, and arepas are a staple in Venezuela. P.A.N. Cornmeal is the staple ingredient for arepas. It has existed for many years but is just now making its debut in the U.S. I couldn’t wait to try them out for myself.
When I was mixing the dough, I was thinking how the consistency was very similar to a very thick cream of wheat. Emma took a whiff and said that it smelled like rice as she helped to knead the dough for a few minutes.
After letting the dough rest for a few, I portioned the dough into balls and then flattened them with my hands. After my pan was heated, I cooked them for a few minutes on each side until done. Then I sliced the arepa and filled it. Caprese sandwiches are the best sandwiches, and this one is so fresh and yummy.
The delicateness of the arepa lends itself well to the fresh ingredients of the caprese. You will have to try this for yourself, but take it from me – it’s divine!
Arepa Caprese Sandwich
- 2 c P.A.N. pre-scooked cornmeal
- 2½ c water
- 1 t salt
- 5 slices fresh mozzarella
- 3 slices tomato
- 2 T fresh basil
- 2 T balsamic vinegar of modena mixed w/ 1 T extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Pour water and salt in a bowl. Slowly add P.A.N. precooked white cornmeal.
- Knead for a few minutes until dough is smooth.
- Let rest for 3-5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8-10 portions, form balls and shape into discs 4-5 inches wide using the pamls of your hands.
- Cook for 5 minutes on each side on a greased grill or pan over medium heat.
- Slice open lengthwise to make room for filling.
- Over bottom half of the arepa, layer the filling.
- Stack 3 slices of mozzarella, followed by tomato slices.
- Add basil, followed by remaining mozzarella.
- Sprinkle top layer of cheese with salt and pepper.
- Then add the top half of the arepa.
- Serve with balsamic mixture.
I can’t wait to try replacing hamburger buns with arepas. Really any sandwich would be great with them, and I’m kind of sad that I didn’t know what I was missing all of these years.
Corn is native to the Americas, but due to its rich nutrients and versatility, cornmeal is a staple in countries all over the globe, and P.A.N. Cornmeal is the number one cornmeal in South America.