Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Crispy Black Bean Cake

I've been wanting to try the Crispy Black Bean Cake recipe from Food and Wine for months. I rarely eat vegetarian, so I was curious if this would actually be satisfying enough for my affirmed carnivore boyfriend.

Although it wasn't amazing enough to go into my regular cooking rotation, it was definitely hearty and flavorful enough to make for a good meal. You definitely need to recommended accouterments (sour cream, lime, and avocado) because the cake itself is not highly flavored.

I enjoyed the mix of crispy and creamy and the kick of spiciness. I followed the recipe exactly except for using shallots instead of onion (because I forgot to buy it not because of any clever reason), and I found the recipe made only 9 cakes rather than the 12 the recipe says. That said, it was plenty for us to have a big dinner and save some for later. I recommend serving it with a green salad or some sort of spicy corn dish.
Crispy Black Bean Cake


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained
  • 1 1/4 cups plain dry bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Sour cream, avocado, scallions and lime wedges, for serving


  1. In a medium skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat just until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the onion mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add 1 1/2 cups of the beans and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped but not smooth. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Mix in the remaining whole beans and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into twelve 1/4-cup patties, about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Put the flour, beaten eggs and the remaining 3/4 cup of bread crumbs into 3 shallow bowls. Dust each black bean cake with the flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the cakes in the egg and then in the bread crumbs, pressing so that the bread crumbs adhere.
  3. In a very large skillet, heat 1/8 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the cakes and fry over moderate heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve the black bean cakes with sour cream, avocado, scallions and lime wedges.


Soft, plummy Merlot: 2005 Mia’s Playground.



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