In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt and corn meal. Add the warm water and mix until a soft, moist dough forms.
Divide the dough into 8 even-sized balls, about 2 ½ tablespoons per ball. Use your fingers to press the balls into round discs, about 5-inches. If you would like to make them cheese-filled, carefully add a heaping tablespoon of cheese to the center of the disc and press the dough around the cheese to form a dough ball. If you do not want to fill the arepas, make the discs 3-inches with and ½ inch thick.
Carefully press the ball until it’s a disc about 3-inches wide and ½ inch thick.
In a large skillet, bring 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Cook the discs for 5 minutes on either side, transferring to a baking sheet. Bake all the arepas in the oven for 10 minutes, until the outside is crisp and golden. These are best served warm.