Today is day 6 of Operation Vegetarian. I have officially made it through the first weekend. So far, everything is all good. I’ve cooked a number of successful items and we were fed and happy all weekend. But, the big winner for the weekend was breakfast on Saturday. It should probably be classified as brunch, but it felt like breakfast.
When trying to figure out how to have a wonderful breakfast without bacon, I recalled a time that I went to Portage Bay Cafe. If you are ever in the Seattle area, Portage Bay Cafe has the best breakfast in town. The restaurant makes fabulous food that is all local and all organic. On one occasion, I ordered something a little different. They were fried black bean cakes with fried, runny eggs on top. They were delectable. I recalled this breakfast wonder and thought, I can do that. And I did. The breakfast was such a success that my boyfriend later said, “I think I like breakfast better without meat … is that weird?”
Now, seeing as I was making this recipe up as I went, I have no exact measurements, but I think it is simple enough to wing it. Now, when I say black bean cakes, I’m saying cakes in the crab-cake sense, not the birthday cake sense. I could call them black bean patties, but that sounds so much less appealing. This recipe makes 2 large patties with leftover beans. You could make 4 and use all the beans, but the leftovers were awesome for quesadillas later.
Katie’s Black Bean Cakes
1 can black beans
1 can Rotel
1 large garlic clove
1 large egg
First, I chopped some garlic and sauteed it in olive oil until it begins to golden. Then I added one can of drained Rotel and got it all hot and bubbly. Then I added 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans. Once the mixture reached a boil, I turned it down to simmer for about 20 minutes. That lets all the flavors mingle together.
Once that is done, I removed half of the bean mixture with a slotted spoon and put it in a bowl in the fridge to cool. While cooling, I shredded a couple tablespoons of cheddar cheese. When the beans have cooled a little, add the cheese to the bowl and also crack the egg over the top. Stir to combine.
Mixture will be really goopy at this point. Add about a palmful of panko breading to the mixture. This will thicken it up significantly. Once everything is combined, pour a pile of panko on a plate and shake to spread evenly. Lump half of the bean mixture onto the pile of panko and sprinkle more panko over the top of the mixture. You want to make sure both sides are nicely coated. You will probably need to pat it into shape.
Once both patties are nicely coated, melt a tablespoon of butter in a nonstick pan and add a little bit of olive oil. The olive oil will keep your butter from burning. When pan is medium-hot, carefully place both patties in the pan. They will want to fall apart on you, and if they crack a little, just squeeze them back into shape. Once the bottom is browned, flip once to brown the top. The egg will set the cake and hold it all together.
Now, when I made this big winner breakfast, I fried eggs to place on top of the black bean cakes. I highly recommend this method. Leave the eggs a little runny and when you cut them up, it will nicely moisten the cake.
I also enjoyed mine with some fresh salsa on top. My man preferred Tapatio sauce. I love Tapatio sauce. I would suggest adding both.
Now, when making these, if you have time and aren’t starving for breakfast, I would make a suggestion. Once the patties are formed, put them in the fridge to cool for about half an hour. I skipped this and had to really work to hold my bean cakes together when I first put them in the pan. If I had let them cool and rest first, they would have held together better. But, I was hungry. What can I say? They still turned out well. They were just a little more work.
I feel like these will become a staple of my vegetarian diet experiment. They are simple, really tasty and have a pleasing texture. They work for breakfast or I could just have one with some salsa and sour cream for lunch. Anyway you eat them, you’re going to like it.