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'Top Chef Portland' star shares Oregon-grown corn dish recipe

'Top Chef Portland' star Sara Hauman highlights a sweet corn dish now on the menu at the state's first Latin-owned brewery in Salem, Xicha Brewing.

SALEM, Oregon — The past year has brought a lot of highs and lows to Oregon's food scene. Of course it shut down so much. But it also brought us 'Top Chef Portland' and that exposure has already been paying off.

According to Travel Oregon, 61% of all the tourists who come to Oregon are coming here specifically for a food-related reason.

KGW has teamed up with Travel Oregon to bring you Oregon in Season and fan favorite, 'Top Chef' contestant Sara Hauman, who lives and cooks in Portland, will be our host.

RELATED: Top Chef Portland's Sara Hauman shares her tips for a sustainable kitchen

Each month through December, Hauman will be highlighting a quintessential Oregon ingredient at the peak of its season and cooking with a chef in each region of the state to create a dish that highlights it. Then, the week it airs on KGW, that dish will be a special menu item at that restaurant for you to travel and try.

"We are having Chef Sara go into the four regions that 'Top Chef' was filmed, the Valley, Gorge, coast and Portland region, and we're really hoping that people will travel to these regions and try these dishes and support economic recovery in a time when these restaurants really need our support," said Allison Keeney of Travel Oregon.

August is all about sweet, Oregon corn. Xicha Brewing in Salem is the state's first Latin-owned brewery. They brew their own beer, with 15 different kinds from lagers, stout, pale ale, sour, saison, IPA, pilsner and fruit beer. Together with Xicha's chef Ricardo Antunez, they're whipping up a flavorful fresh corn arepa, with Dungeness crab, avocado and two kinds of salsas. 

See the recipes below and enjoy!

Credit: KGW
Chef Sara and Chef Ricky's crab corn arepa alongside some of the beers Xicha Brewing makes in Salem.

RELATED: The pandemic hit Oregon’s food scene hard. Can 'Top Chef' help revive it?

Fresh Corn Arepa 

  • 3 cups Bobs Red Mill masa 
  • 2 cups of mozzarella 
  • 2 fresh ears of corn, shucked (save cobs) 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 2 oz. butter 
  • Salt TT 
  • ¼ vegetable oil 
  • Tortilla press

Place milk, water, corn cob, and butter in saucepan on medium heat until butter completely dissolves. Remove cobs and let cool until warm. Place masa, cheese, corn kernels and salt in a large bowl, and slowly pour in milk mixture and with a wooden spoon start mixing. 

Use your hands to finish combining all ingredients until the dough is firm, let rest for 5 minutes. Make 2 ounce balls and slightly press into disc shape in the tortilla press or by hand. 

Add oil to a Non-Stick Pan or Griddle at medium heat and place arepas in pan, cook until golden brown.

Coconut Salsa

Makes 1.5 quarts

  • 1 lb. roma tomatoes
  • 6 oz. or 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 6 each garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 oz. dried New Mexico chilis, de-seeded and de-stemmed
  • 2 oz. dried ancho chilis, de-seeded and de-stemmed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flake, toasted
  • 14 oz. or 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin, toasted and ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coriander seed, toasted and ground
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 lime, zest and juice

Coat the tomatoes, onion, and garlic with the grapeseed oil. Place on a baking sheet and broil on high until charred and the tomatoes are soft.

Boil 1 quart of water and pour over the dried chilis. Let re-hydrate for at least 15 minutes.

Strain the liquid from the chilis. Add the chilis to a blender with the broiled tomato mixture and the rest of the ingredients. Blend until very smooth.

Pistachio Salsa Macha

Makes 3/4 quart

  • 2 cups neutral oil like grapeseed oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp. white sesame seeds
  • 2 oz. dried ancho chili, de-stemmed and de-seeded
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 oz. pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped

Place the oil, garlic and sesame seeds in a pot and heat on low heat until the garlic and sesame seeds are golden brown. Remove from the heat and add the dried chilis, vinegar and salt. 

Once the mixture cools to room temperature, blend until your desired texture is reached. Mix in the toasted and chopped pistachios.

Credit: KGW

Spoon a dollop of the coconut salsa on a plate, place your cooked arepa on top. Toss Dungeness crab meat with some of the pistachio salsa macha in a separate bowl. Put a handful of the crab mixture on top of the arepa, followed by sliced avocado and some cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and a sprinkle of toasted coconut, or just head to Xicha Brewing and sip a beer while they make it for you instead. Cheers!

Credit: Travel Oregon
Chef Sara Hauman and Chef Ricky Antunez of Xicha Brewing fry up the corn arepas.