Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chickpea "Crab Cakes" with Cocktail Sauce, Blueberry Corn Salad and Star Fruit

I thought I would start a quest to make the best vegan crab cakes possible to serve to my parents the next time I visit them. Being from the East Coast, they are no strangers to crab cakes but they are definitely strangers to crab cakes..minus the crab and plus tons of flavor, texture and good karma. The key to this perfect texture is using dried beans instead of canned. Normally I always use canned beans when I cook because I don't tend to think of what I want to eat until hours prior. The use of dried beans requires some forethought but very minimal execution. Simply soak the beans in water before you go to work in the morning and by dinnertime they will be ready!

"Crab cakes" made simply with chickpeas, a hint of the sea and traditional Old Bay seasoning to give each patty a taste that is wonderfully reminiscent of the real thing. Served with cocktail sauce and a fresh, raw salad with a surprising and bright combination of fresh corn, blueberries, jalapeno and star fruit.

Chickpea Crab Cakes
makes 8 small patties
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 large sweet onion, small dice
1 celery stalk
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp nori powder (or 1/2 tsp finely, finely minced nori sheet)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup canola oil

Soak the chickpeas in water for 10 hours. Drain and toss into a food processor.
Pulse 10 or so times until the chickpeas are ground but not pureed. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil and continue pulsing until no whole beans remain. Be careful not to overdue it, you want texture, not mush.
Form the mixture into 8 small patties and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oil in a saute pan and cook the chickpea patties until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total.

Cocktail Sauce
Traditional cocktail sauce is made with horseradish sauce which is almost never vegan unless you can find it at a specialty store. Knowing I would probably never use it again, I decided to make this sauce without going on a hunt around Portland to find vegan horseradish sauce or fresh root. The result was still a nice spicy-sweet dipping sauce perfect for my crab cakes.
1 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Blueberry Corn Salad with Star Fruit
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 yellow corn cobs, kernels removed
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tbl fresh chopped parsley
2 tbl coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 star fruit, thinly sliced

Combine all of the ingredients except the star fruit and toss. Chill for 15 minutes. Add the star fruit once you are ready to serve.

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