As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some stellar recipes from our community. Today's cheesy dinner for two come from longtime Food52er Cara Eisenpress.
"My mom, my sister, and I fell in love with homemade arepas when I was in high school," shares Cara Eisenpress. They'd make them to go alongside South American and Mexican-inspired dishes or as a starchy side for main course salads. Now, Eisenpress has turned her family's beloved side dish into a satisfying main for two by making the arepas oversized and topping with a pile of lightly sautéed spring vegetables.
She's also added fresh, cubed mozzarella cheese to the arepa batter. After frying, they "develop a lovely crust on the outside and an almost creamy consistency on the inside... you wind up with delicious gooey, stringy, melty cheese in every bite." Sold.
Love a good cheese pull? These enchiladas might be right up your alley, too.
Eisenpress stresses the importance of keeping your pan hot when frying, lest the "copious" amount of cheese stick to the pan and make the arepas harder to flip. When we made them in the test kitchen, we rolled out the arepas between two pieces of parchment paper (wax paper would work, too) and then froze them until firm—it made for easy frying.
For the Spring Vegetables
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, washed and trimmed
- 1 pound thin asparagus, washed, trimmed, and cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 small zuchinni, trimmed and cut very thinly (on a mandolin if possible)
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
For the Arepas
- 1 1/2 cups masa harina (fine corn flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
Do you have a recipe that's been passed down in your family? Or one you want to make sure your future generations make? Let us know in the comments and it might be featured as one of our heirloom recipes!