A few weeks ago I became obsessed with perfecting my own arepa recipe. Often when I’m exploring with a new dish, I’ll make a half dozen or so batches in order to test and optimize my recipe. After having arepas for dinner probably four nights in a row, my boyfriend David looked at me and said, “you know, I’m not really fan of arepas…”
Sometimes I get so focused on coming up with a good recipe that I get a little obsessive, and forget that family dinners aren’t always about blog material. What really bring me pleasure, besides the actual food preparation, is seeing people I love enjoying the food I’ve made, and every now and then I need a gentle reminder.
Anyways, so after all of the arepas I made, these were my favorite. I really like how the arepas pair with the caramelized onions and gruyere. It’s totally French slash Venezuelan fusion.
1 c masa
1 Tbsp nutritional years
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 c warm water
2 Tbsp coconut oil
Vegetable oil spray
1. Let’s start by cooking down the onions over medium heat, note that they’ll cook down by quite a bit. For these arepas I used two large yellow onions. Start with just canola oil in the pan, then after the onions have started cooking season with kosher salt and black pepper.
2. You’ll need to cook the onions for a good 30 to 45 minutes, occasionally using a bit of warm water to deglaze the pan.
3. Remove from heat when the onions have a deep carmel color, set aside.
4. Combine the dry ingredients for your arepas in a bowl.
5. In a separate bowl, combine warm water and coconut oil. Whisk aggressively until the coconut oil melts, and emulsifies into the water.
6. Add dry ingredients, and whip with a fork. Then, using your hands, press the arepa dough down into a flat disc.
7. Cover and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
8. Divide dough into the number of arpas you want, I did 4 with this batch. Roll each section into a ball, then flatten out until they’re about 1/2 an inch thick.
9. Preheat a non stick pan over medium heat. Spray with vegetable oil, then add arepas to pan. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, then finish in an oven preheated to 350 degrees fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
10. While the arepas are baking, combine gruyere cheese and heavy cream in a bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir, then repeat until the cheese is completely melted.
11. Cut arepas in half, then add a layer of cheese followed by caramelized onions.
If the arepas or onions have cooled, then pop into the oven for a few minutes as they’re best served warm.