I have vivid childhood memories of eating corn pancakes for dinner. I don’t know why this particular food conjures up such a bold memory, perhaps it’s because there is a certain novelty to eating something doused in maple syrup for dinner but come summertime, I can’t get that memory out of my head. I have yet to tackle my own version of corn pancakes, mostly because there are certain foods that are tied to such specific memories and feelings, it’s hard to imagine that a homemade version made by anyone but my mother would be capable of fulfilling any of my cravings. At some point here I will finally bite the bullet and attempt it (I have visions of corn pancakes and thick slices of bacon served on a rainy summer evening – the kind of thing best eaten in pj’s with someone you love), but until that happens I will settle for a variation of the theme. These are Arepas according to Mark Bittman, and while I don’t know if I would fully agree with that name, I definitely agree with the flavor of the dish. This is a comforting dish of corn and cheese encased in the thinnest of pancake like batters. I like to serve it with slices of avocado and a generous pour of homemade roasted tomatillo salsa which makes for a fun riff on the traditional pancake dinner.
Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman on the NYTimes
1 cup cornmeal
¾ cup corn kernels (about 1 ear)
1 cup milk
1 cup cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter or oil for greasing the pan
Accompaniments: Sliced jalapenos, sliced avocado, tomatillo salsa, hot sauce
Combine the cornmeal , corn kernels, and cheddar in a bowl. Beat the egg with the milk. Pour the milk and egg mixture over the cornmeal mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. (Batter will be thin!).
Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Grease the pan with the butter or oil. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the batter on the pan (like you would pancakes). Cook for 1 -2 minutes until cooked and golden brown, flip the pancake over and cook the other side for another minute. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining batter. Top the pancakes with the accompaniments of your choice.