Serves 6


Chicken Topping
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced to a puree
  • 1 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow arepa flour
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 very ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 cup Salsa Verde (see recipe, below), or as needed
  • 9 slices Manchego cheese, cut into 18 squares, or 1/2 cup shredded Manchego
  • 18 slices pickled jalapeños

    Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

    To make topping: Position a rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°. Toss chicken on baking sheet with oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Bake until chicken is no longer pink when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until just warm, then shred, using fingers and a fork. Let cool completely. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in mayonnaise, chipotle, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 day.

    To make arepas: In a bowl, whisk arepa flour and salt. Gradually stir in about 1 1/2 cups warm water, enough to make a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Top with another sheet of plastic, and pat or roll dough to 1/3" thickness. Remove top plastic sheet. Using a 1 1/2" round cookie cutter, combining and rolling out scraps as needed, cut out 18 rounds of dough. Transfer rounds to a parchment or waxed paper–lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

    Pour enough oil into a large deep skillet to come 1/2" up the sides and heat on high until oil is hot and shimmering. Line an 18" x 13" baking sheet with paper towels.

    In batches, without crowding, add arepa rounds to oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt.

    Stir avocado into chicken mixture. Divide chicken mixture evenly onto arepas, followed by 1 tsp. of Salsa Verde. Top each with a slice of Manchego and jalapeño; transfer to a platter and serve.

    Salsa Verde

    Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 6 large tomatillos (about 8 ounces), husked and rinsed
  • 1 poblano or ancho chili
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper

    Total time: 20 minutes

    Position broiler rack about 8 inches from heat and set to high. On pan, broil tomatillos, poblano, and jalapeño, turning occasionally, until tomatillos are browned but not bursting, about 6 minutes. Carefully transfer softened tomatillos to small bowl. Continue broiling chilies, turning occasionally, until skins are blackened and blistered, about 4 minutes. Transfer chilies to separate bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit 10 minutes. Peel and seed chilies.

    Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Combine onion mixture, tomatillos, chilies, and cilantro in a blender or a food processor and puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    From Share: Delicious and Surprising Recipes to Pass Around Your Table (Grand Central; February 7, 2017), by Chris Santos, chef/owner of NYC's Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex and Chopped judge.

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