Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix flour and salt. Pour in water and mix with a spoon until the dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap
and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove dough
from bowl and knead
for about 5 minutes moistening your hands and the board with water as you work. (Kneading in the additional moisture is an important step in making a tender arepa.) The dough should be smooth and not crack around the edges; it should be moist but not sticky. Form into disks about 3-inches around and 1/2-inch thick. (The disks can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at this point and cooked later.) Add the oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat and cook arepas on each side just until a crust
forms. Do not let brown. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the arepas make a hollow sound when tapped. Open a slit in 1 side of the arepa to make a pocket (or slice in half). Arepas can be stuffed with meat, beans
or your favorite filling.
Cook's note: Arepa flour is a precooked corn flour
and should not be confused with masa harina
flour is sold as masarepa, harina precocida, or masa al instante. It can be found in Latin American groceries.