I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve been here. It feels like no time has passed, yet it’s been so long. I spent most of that time visiting my Papa on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Clean air, hot sun and quick jaunts on the boat to visit empty island beaches. And to top it all off, I was able to cook for a few guests in a big, fancy, state-of-the-art kitchen. I cooked them this dish.
The first night, a few of Dad’s friends came over for dinner. About halfway through dicing the red pepper I diced into my finger pretty good. “How bad is it?” they asked. “Uh, got it pretty good,” I replied. I took a seat – I do have a tendency to faint in situations like this – and the damage was assessed. “Looks like we’ve got to go to the Emergency Room.”
So, after an hour and some fancy tape (no stitches!) we arrived back home – still without dinner. That night we had microwave dinners. However, we tried the whole thing again the next night, and success! Well, kinda. I actually wasn’t able to form the cakes myself, since the cut has to stay clean and dry, but I had help, and they tasted good – isn’t that what counts?
We had this with some rice on the side for dinner, but you could just as easily make smaller cakes and serve them as appetizers with the coulis as a dipping sauce. And letting the mixture sit is, unfortunately, very necessary if you want cakes not crumbles. I used these cute little heirloom tomatoes I found – but any fresh tomatoes will work.
Black Bean Cakes with Roasted Tomato Coulis
1-1 1/2 lbs. of tomatoes, quartered (or halved if small)
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (1 15 oz. can, drained)
1 large egg
3/4 c. cornmeal, divided
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. sea salt, divided
1 T. maple syrup, or sweetener of choice
to garnish, chopped fresh cilantro and feta, crumbled or cubed
Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare the tomatoes and onions and spread on a baking sheet. Pour on a little oil and toss to coat. Make sure the tomatoes are sitting cut side up so the juices stay inside. Pop the sheet into the oven for 30 minutes.
Mash the black beans with a fork or potato masher. Mix in the egg, 1/4 of the cornmeal, the pepper, cumin, chipotle and 1/2 tsp. salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes to soak up the egg.
A minute or two before you’re ready to start frying the cakes, heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat. The oil should cover the bottom of the skillet in a thick layer. Spread the rest of the cornmeal on a plate.
Take about 2 tablespoons or so of the black bean mixture and roll it between your palms. Flatten in a bit, then coat in the cornmeal. Place it in the skillet and cook about 5 minutes on each side. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, I got 8 smallish cakes out of it.
While the cakes are cooking, transfer the roasted tomatoes and onions to a food processor. Add the other 1/2 tsp. of salt, maple syrup, and a little drizzle of oil, and process for a few minutes, until you get a smooth sauce.
To serve, spread some coulis on a plate, top with a few cakes. Drizzle a little more sauce on top, and garnish with the cilantro and feta.
makes 8 cakes.