I have been craving, lately, arepas, particularly the beautiful, golden, delicious arepas at Caracas, a local Venezuelan restaurant (which now has several outposts around NY). This is one of my favorite restaurants, but I haven’t had much free time to get to any of their locations recently. They’re always very, very busy, so you need a bit of time to hang out and wait for a table. I will get there at some point soon, but in the meantime, I’m still craving arepas! In the midst of my growing fever for corn cakes, Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook arrived. If there was ever a chef who loved her vegetables, it is Waters. This book is a love song to vegetables, and most of the recipes are straightforward and simple – and they all make me want to eat more and more vegetables. Flipping through the book, I stopped to read the whole section on corn, and found her recipe for corn cakes. Though these aren’t quite the Venezuelan-style cakes that Caracas makes, they are DELICIOUS, and I am a happy girl.
You can serve these at any meal, really. They’re a great base for all kinds of other foods, including greens, avocados, tomatoes, eggs, fish (which is how we ate them a couple of weeks ago), and meat (especially something like a spicy hash or pulled pork). They reheat well and will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, separated
1 tbls honey
1 cup milk
4 tbls unsalted butter
1 cup corn kernels (about 2 ears fresh corn)
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
- Combine cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk, honey, and butter gently until butter is just melted. Allow to cool slightly, then whisk in egg yolks.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and add milk and egg mixture, blending to make a smooth batter. Add corn kernels and jalapeños, if using.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites (by hand or with a mixer) until they form soft peaks.
- Fold egg whites into the batter very gently.
- Cook the cakes on a medium-hot, lightly oiled griddle pan, as you would for pancakes. You can make these any size you like.