When I was around twelve, I loved going to my best friend’s house. Being ex-military and ex-CIA, his dad was strict, but kind. He was the type of man who wouldn’t tolerate the sheninagans you see kids pull today. We always showed respect to adults in his house. It was always “yes sir” and “yes ma’am.”
His mom was great. She was from Venezuela, and she was always making treats for us. I still remember the creaminess of the hot chocolate she made with melted Venezuelan chocolate bars. What I miss most are the arepas.
Arepas are similar to hot water cornbread, but you use cooked corn flour, or masa harina. I’ve only made them twice in my life. They paled in comparison to the perfectly cooked corn discs of my youth. Nonetheless, they are tasty and I think with enough practice, I can make these as light and fluffy as I remember.
Here is an excellent arepa recipe. I added garlic powder to mine. I especially like this recipe because there are many descriptive pictures to help you make your own arepas. I also decided to get a little creative with the chicken salad. Cooking the chicken was no sweat. All that’s needed are two boneless-skinless chicken breasts, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken to a small pot and cover with water. Add salt and pepper to taste. If I had chicken broth I would have used it instead of water. Then you cook the chicken in the boiling water until it is just done. Remove chicken and allow to cool. Once cooked, shred chicken by hand.
The “salad” portion of this is essentially a remoulade sauce I came across. The original recipe came from serious eats. I added minced sundried tomatoes in olive oil. I almost forgot about the star of the sandwich…bacon. I used thick cut bacon and sliced the strips into thirds before frying. Assembly is the best part. Slice arepas in half. Apply chicken salad. Top with a piece of bacon and add the top part of the arepa. It’s pretty straightforward. And delicious.