Sunday, April 5, 2009

Arepas with black beans and avocado salsa

I had never heard of arepas until a Venezuelan food stand opened at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa. Every time we’re in the area, we stop by for a snack. We actually don’t go to Napa that often though, so I knew I needed to learn to make some items from their menu so that we could get our fix in between visits.

Arepas are essentially cornmeal patties that can be grilled, baked or fried. There are a few different versions; some are thicker and get sliced in half and stuffed with a variety of fillings, others are thinner and served with toppings. This recipe is for the thinner arepas, which are topped with black beans, avocado salsa and cheese.

To make these arepas, you’ll need to procure some harina precocida, which is a precooked corn flour. For this particular version, nothing else will do. I found my harina precocida at a Mexican market. The arepas are cooked first in a pan, then finished in the oven.

The patties are topped with a black bean mixture and an avocado salsa. The avocado salsa is uniquely flavored with onion, red bell pepper, tomato, Dijon mustard, olive oil, vinegar and cilantro. The arepas are finished with a sprinkling of queso fresco. This dish isn’t particularly difficult to make, but it is quite time consuming because of all the different steps. It's totally worth the effort though, so if you can find some harina precocida, take the time to give this a try.


84 comments:

Selba said...

Looks so yummy!

I always want to try to make avocado salsa :)

LK- Healthy Delicious said...

oh my. i think I need this.

Elyse said...

First of all, I need to find that stand in Napa. Secondly, I really want to try making arepas myself. I love arepas, but I rarely see them around, so why not learn how to make them?! They pair so nicely with avocado, too!

Joan Nova said...

I've usually seen them stuffed with cheese (a mozzarella-type) and grilled. I like your version better.

Tyler said...

oh yum!! i've been craving latin american food all the time since i got back from costa rica. arepas are sooo good, and i usually eat avocado with every meal :)

Pearl said...

i've never heard of arepas before tonight, either - but they look yum!

LaDue & Crew said...

This looks gorgeous! Fabulous pics, too!

Melissa said...

I think I have had something similar to this before. The avocado topping looks delicious!

Allison Lemons said...

Those arepas look amazing! To the dismay of my Colombian husband, I have yet to try my hand at these little corn cakes. In Colombia, arepas are fried - as opposed to the Argentinian version, which are baked.

That stand in Napa sounds like it's worth the trip. New York had arepas galore, but living in Berkeley, I have yet to find them. Thanks for the post!

Maris said...

Oooh arepas! They sound great and your picture looks fantastic!

Anita said...

This is the first I've heard of Arepas... and they look great!

Kerstin said...

I've never heard of arepas before, but they look really good! I love your combo of black beans and avocado - yum!

Angie's Recipes said...

I have never heard the name, but the avocado salsa looks wonderful,hmm....I think I still have some tacos at home....

Kitchen Flavours said...

Totally luscious....

unconfidentialcook said...

I don't know arepas, but I do know I'd love them. Thank you--love the black beans and avocado...

The Caked Crusader said...

Well I've learned something today! I've never heard of arepas

Debinhawaii said...

I have been wanting to try arepas since I caught Bobby Flay doing a Throwdown! with them a few weeks ago. They look amazing and I love the black bean and avocado on top!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

That looks fascinating Sara! I love reading about food that I've never tried before! :O

Erica said...

Wow- this recipe sounds incredible. I am going to be on the lookout for the harina precocida!! So cool that you found this restaurant- I would def visit it every time I was in the area!!

Asha said...

Always wanted to make Arepas after I saw them on Food TV show "Throw down with Bobby Flay"! Love it with salsa, great post.

lelie said...

i love the Copia market place, on a recent stay in Napa i must have gone there 4 or 5 times.
this recipe looks delish!

teresa said...

Mmmm, these look amazing! I'm going to have to try these!

ttfn300 said...

ooh, we were just talking about arepas yesterday, these look amazing!! right up my alley :)

Cathy said...

I've never tried an arepa....will have to look around to see if I can find it up here.

Christina Kim said...

There is a great Venezuelan restaurant here in Boston that serves deeelicious arepas! But I have never considered making them at thome. Yours looks so tasty... I love love love black beans and avocado, so this is right down my alley!! Thanks for the inspiration!

Jenna said...

wow. this looks incredible. I have never heard of them before. How interesting! That avocado salsa looks amazing as well.

Christina Kim said...

So, you cannot just use plain old cornmeal?

Kim said...

I've seen the arepa on the simply deliciouso show before. Yours looks very tasty and different. Something to personalize, kinda like a taco.

Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks) said...

Regular cornmeal isn't the same as the precooked stuff they use for arepas, tamales, etc. You can make something similar by making a cornmeal mush first, shaping into rounds and then frying. The arepa flour is a lot easier to manage and a better taste, I think.

Barbara Bakes said...

Looks like another great healthy meal!

Sarah Herman said...

mmmm, I think I need to make some tonight! I found harina the other day at a mexican market!

Pam said...

Looks and sounds delicious!

Reeni♥ said...

They look so delicious, especially with avocado salsa! I first heard of Arepas when Bobby Flay had a throwdown with them. I have been wanting to make them ever since.

lisaiscooking said...

I would love to try making arepas. Yours looks incredible!

Bridgett said...

Oh wow, so simple yet delicious. I love foods such as these.

Dawn said...

oh how I miss napa...I'm stuck in the cold northeast for now. boo hoo!
a stunning creation and an even more stunning photo!

Olga said...

This looks amazing! I wish you could ship this to DC so I'd have it for lunch :)

Cheryl said...

Sara you continue to amaze me! I have seen these on the Food Network before, but never made by a "real" person, LOL!!!

Elra said...

This is really wonderful dish you have here Sara. Love the avocado in it too.
Cheers,
elra

mamakd said...

Mr. KD works in the spanish dept. at his company and they are always eating different foods. He had these once and has asked for me to try to make them so thank you! I am definitely going to try this recipe. Hopefully Mr. KD approves!

noble pig said...

This looks fantastic! Wow.

♥Rosie♥ said...

I've never heard of arepas before until reading your post. My word they really look scrummy though -slurp...

duodishes.com said...

Mmm arepas! Thought that was cotija cheese on top but queso fresco will do too. Mmmm arepas!

stephchows said...

That is so cute, I just want to pop it right in my mouth haha

The Blonde Duck said...

That sounds really good! I had never heard of Arepas before.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Oh how I want to msake these myself. I love all of the flavors, this is such a unique and beautiful dish Sara!

Usha said...

I have never heard of arepas before but it sounds delicious....

Apples and Butter said...

You had me at cornmeal and then again at cornmeal patty. That sounds delicious and I really am a sucker for anything with corn or cornmeal. I'll have to see if I can track down some harina precocida.

We checked out the Oxbow center in Napa the last time we were there. I didn't get the chance to try the oyster bar, but that in particular caught my eye. Have you eaten there?

Finally, thanks for the tip on TJ's Spanish olive oil. I will check it out the next time I'm there!

Sara said...

Arepas sound great. I will have to be on the look out for harisa precocida.

Natashya said...

Unfortunately we don't have a large Latin selection here in Canada, I haven't come across that type of harina. Just the masa harina.
I have always wanted to try arepas, they look really good!

thecleanveggie said...

YUMMMM.
your food always looks so great :)

Claudia said...

I have never had them. And there are Mexican Markets around ... because this looks too wonderful. Sara, you always have me searching for a new ingredient!

Judy said...

OMG, this looks so good. I really want to try it. We have a Mexican market in this tiny little coastal NC town, can you believe? So I'm sure I can get what I need. I love avocado salsa. I mix avocado, cilantro and lime juice in with purchased salsa when I don't have time to make my own. I saw Bobby Flay make arepas in a throwdown, and they didn't look so easy, though.

lily said...

How pretty!

Kevin said...

That looks good! I like avocado and black bean combo.

Jan said...

This is a new one on me, but it looks and sounds ab fab. Whether I would ever find the ingredients is another matter entirely. :-(

Helene said...

I haven't heard of that either. Looks delish.

Lori said...

Arepas need to arrive in my kitchen. THey sound so good! Thanks Sara for helping me to learn something yet again.

lesley said...

That looks SO delicious and perfect!

Lynda said...

Wow, these look wonderful, Sara!Your arepas look delicious and your photo is perfect!

Irene said...

This looks so good! It's calling my name - really! Irene.... Irene..... eat me................. :)

Grace said...

in all honesty, if someone were to ask me what four ingredients i enjoy the most in combination, i'd say black beans, corn, tomatoes, and avocado. i love this. :)

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

We use lots of black beans in our house so this would be a hit. I think I'll make some parts of this dish. Looks so good. Thanks for sharing!

Maria said...

Love this! It looks so good!

Passionate Eater said...

That sounds almost like pupusas. Arepas are definitely something I need to try!

Diana said...

I love reading your blog -- I always learn something new! :) (And the food porn don't hurt either...)

Sara said...

Christina - The harina precocida is precooked, then very finely ground, much finer than regular cornmeal. You just add hot water and salt, instant arepa dough. So unfortunately, regular cornmeal doesn't work.

Apples and Butter - I have not tried the oyster bar there, I'll let you know if I do!

Claudia - Welcome to my world, I'm always searching for a new ingredient :)

Aimée said...

This is making me so hungry!

Love the photo in your header--the colors really pop.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Ohhh yum, those look too good!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love arepas and anything made with corn, beans or avocado! really beautiful and scrumptious looking!

Cheers,

Rosa

Live.Love.Eat said...

These look wonderful and better than all the cheese arepas I have seen at art festivals here in FL. Very nice!!!!

melissa said...

I'd never heard of arepas before last week and now this is the THIRD time I have seen them mentioned in that timeframe. I think the universe is trying to tell me something. Although the ones I saw had meat, I prefer the black bean and avocado incarnation of yours. Beautiful photo!

Soma said...

This is something new for me. looks & sounds delicious!

Angela Mears said...

Ugh. I love Mexican food. This looks like an amazing recipe. I've never had arepas before, but my father says he loves them. I'll definitely share this with my roomie, who also loves Mexican food and who gave up meat for Lent.

Laurie said...

Sarah I love arepas!! My mother in law taught me, and I usually have pan on hand.. except recently. Thanks for the reminder!! :)

Anonymous said...

WHERE'S THE RECIPE??? WHAT ARE THE AMOUNTS OF EACH INGREDIENTS? It looks great, I want to make it. But there is no formal recipe here. What's in the black bean mixture? How much of each thing goes in the avocado salsa?

Sara said...

Anonymous - there are a couple of links to the recipe within the post. Here's the direct link: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1809140

Anonymous said...

Oops, my bad. Thanks Sara!

Ashley said...

Ooh these look tasty! Love the combination of toppings!

Sophie said...

MMMMMM...Sara!! I love this!! Thanks!!

Jude said...

The toppings looks excellent. Maseca for this? It says masa harina for tortillas, though.

Culinary Wannabe said...

When I was just down south, one of my mom's friends was telling me about how her grandma used to make "cornbread pancakes" and she described exactly these! She had been searching for the recipe - I will have to pass along this idea!

Sanneva said...

Hi! I am from Venezuela and I am really happy I found Venezuelan food on your blog...

The "arepa" looks delicious!!!

Here's my blog in case you want to come and see it...

www.olivaymaiz.blogspot.com

Greetings!

Gioconda said...

Hi Sara.
I'm venezuelan and I'm so glad that you posted arepas en your recipes.
It is much better if you use the venezuelan cornmeal, there are differences. You can find here in the US. The name is "Harina PAN". Go to virtualtienda.com
Thanks again!
Gia