Lazy Cheese Arepas with Slaw
  1. Preheat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet on the stovetop, gradually raising the heat from low to medium-high. When the pan is hot, add the 1½ teaspoons butter and let it melt, tilting to coat. Add the corn and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring from time to time to avoid sticking, until both sides are burnt. Transfer the charred corn to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the corn flour and sugar. Gradually add the water, incorporating it into the dry ingredients with your fingers. Work in 3 tablespoons of the melted butter, kneading the mixture to form a soft dough. Knead in the cheeses, 1 cup at a time. If the dough seems too dry, add 1 to 1½ tablespoons more water. Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, add the salt to taste, 1/4 teaspoon at a time. Keep kneading the dough until it’s supple, smooth, and lump-free. It will feel like a cross between lukewarm mashed potatoes and Play-Doh.
  3. When the dough is just about right, quickly and gently knead the corn kernels into it and shape it into a compact sphere, working in any remnants that may have stuck to the base of your bowl. Line the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the cast-iron skillet on the stovetop, gradually raising the heat from low to medium-high, so it gets very hot. Meanwhile, shape the dough: Divide it into 12 portions of about 1/2 cup (or 5 ounces) each and place them under a kitchen towel. Working with one at a time and keeping the others covered, roll one piece of dough into a ball, then flatten it into a circle about 3 inches wide and ½ inch thick. Set the finished disc on a plate and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining dough, separating the discs with wax paper and keeping them covered as you work.
  5. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter and the corn oil in a small bowl. Add 1-1/2 teaspoons of the butter-oil mixture to the hot skillet and tilt the pan to coat. Place 4 of the arepas in the pan. Every couple of minutes, rotate them in place, then after 5 minutes, shift them clockwise in the pan, adding 1-1/2 teaspoons more of the butter-oil mixture to the skillet to prevent burning or sticking. At the 10-minute mark, flip the arepas with a spatula and add another 1½ teaspoons of the butter-oil mixture to the pan.
  6. Cook the arepas for 8 to 9 minutes more, rotating them in place every couple of minutes and shifting them all together, clockwise, after 4 minutes as above, adding another 1-1/2 teaspoons of the butter-oil mixture to the pan. When finished, the exterior of the arepas should be crisp and solid, and the inside should be cooked through with a soft consistency comparable to cheesy grits. Repeat with the remaining arepas, cooking them in batches of 4 at a time.
  7. Eat the arepas immediately while they’re hot, or keep them warm on a large plate, covered with aluminum foil, while you cook the rest. Top each with a heaping spoonful of slaw, a pinch of salt, and, if you wish, a few drops of your favorite hot sauce.
Recipe Notes

Get the recipe for Charlotte’s crunchy slaw.