2 cups PAN or precooked white cornmeal
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 (12-ounce) package queso fresco, cut into small 1/4 -inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Sour cream, (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paeper and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl add the warm water and salt, mix to dissolve. Slowly add the corn meal and using your fingers, blend to form a soft dough.
Divide the dough into 16 golf ball-size pieces, and using your hands, gently roll them into a ball and then flatten them into a party about 4-inches wide. Working one at a time, place about 6 cubes of cheese into the center of each patty. Fold the dough over the cheese completely covering all the cheese cubes. Gently pat the stuffed arepas back into a 4-inch round patty and set aside.
Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Working in batches, cook the arepas until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using a metal spatula. Gently flip the arepas and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Transfer the cooked arepas to the prepared baking pan. Bake until the edges of the arepas are crisp and the tops are golden, about 8-10 minutes. Serve hot with sour cream.