Precooked white cornmeal:
- Is like parboiled rice, ready to use and gets soft fast, unlike uncooked meal which can take time to cook through and soften;
- Is a Latin American staple food that often times is ignored because it seems too “pedestrian” simple;
- Can be used in a wide variety of recipes and riffs that draw on its pale color and simple sweetness!
- Sweet corn meal that has a smoother texture than yellow cornmeal or polenta grind or even its hominy cousin, the coarser-ground grits.
COMMONLY USED IN
- Arepas – A Latin American go-to with cornmeal cakes and cheese melted in the middle, griddled;
- Cornmeal mush
- Thickener for Latin stews like Argentine Locro
A FEW RIFFS
- Nubes De Maiz – My “corn clouds” topped with risen fried eggs!
- Mariscos y Maiz – My Argentinian-infused take on N’Awlins shrimp and grits.
- NYCEArepas – A fusion of the classic Latin cheese corn-cake and NYC excellence in pastrami
- Locro de Tinte – My riff on the Argentine classic stew fusion honoring Argentine fusion jazz pianist Daniel Tinte.
- An interesting riff in brioche doughs is to incorporate a little corn flour for the taste.
P.A.N. is one of those basics that should be a staple in every kitchen, not just every Latin kitchen. I generally don’t award staples five diamonds because there are just so many, but this one is so well made it has a special place in my pantry!