Orinoco's Arepa Portobello
Arepas are Venezuelan grilled corn patties. They have a crispy white corn shell and a soft, doughy inside, which may be stuffed with a variety of fillings. In this recipe they are filled with large, roasted Portobello mushrooms. Although they originated in Venezuela, arepas are also popular in Colombia. They are a delicious snack or simple meal at any time of day.
6 giant Portobello mushrooms
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 cups harina arepa corn meal
1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup fresh corn
1 tsp. anise seeds
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 cups water
For Sautéed Spinach
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms
sliced 1/2 cup oyster mushrooms
sliced 1/4 cup fresh corn
1 – 2 bags spinach
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup cream
6 cloves garlic
1 sprig thyme
1/2 cup huitlacoche (Mexican corn truffle)
Add a pinch of salt and pepper to each Portobello mushroom and roast them either in the oven (350 degrees for 15 minutes) or over the grill. Set aside.
In a sauté pan add butter, corn, anise, and sugar, and sauté until the corn is a little brown. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the water (warm) with the sauté ingredients and the corn meal. Work everything into a rough dough.
Take a piece of the dough and work it into a ball. Place it over a piece of plastic and flatten it to 1/4-inch thick. Place the roasted Portobello in the center of the flattened dough and fold the sides of the dough over the Portobello so it is completely covered. Repeat for each Portobello.
Grill each arepa until dark brown on sides.
For the spinach, sauté all ingredients in butter.
For the sauce, simmer cream, garlic, and thyme in a saucepan for 3 minutes. Blend and pass through a colander, then add huitlacoche and blend again. Season to taste.
To plate, make a narrow bed with the sautéed spinach, cut the arepas into quarters, and arrange them on a follow form. Serve with sauce on the side.
Orinoco in Boston's South End is the current stop on a culinary journey that Chef Carlos Walter Rodriguez began when he was just 14, growing up in Caracas. He shared this recipe with us when he was featured as our guest on Neighborhood Kitchens.
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