Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Cumin Mayonnaise

My dear friend Frank has been after me to try a recipe for black-eyed pea cakes now for a few years. I don’t know what has taken me so long, but I’m glad I finally got around to trying these. He was originally inspired by a recipe in one of Sara Foster’s cookbooks, but I ended up making my own variation. I used fully cooked frozen black-eyed peas, but you can also used canned or soak dry beans and cook them on your own. Just be sure to measure them accordingly.

  • 1 pound bag frozen black-eyed peas (about 3-1/4 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small baguette (see tips)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

  • For the cumin mayo:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (see tips)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Place the frozen black-eyed peas in a small saucepan, cover by an inch with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the peas in a colander and allow them to cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, make fresh breadcrumbs by slicing the baguette. I don’t bother to remove the crust. Place the sliced bread in a food processor fitted with the steel chopping blade. Process for about a minute, or until the breadcrumbs are fine with a few fat fluffy crumbs. You will have about 4 cups total. Remove 1 cup, then store the rest in an airtight container or zip top bag for another use (I place mine in the freezer in a zip top).
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, celery, red onion, bell pepper and jalapeno with a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • In the bowl of the food processor, place the black-eyed peas, the vegetable mixture, parsley, lemon zest and juice, Old Bay seasoning, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, the black pepper, and egg. Pulse a few times until mixture starts to come together. Add the breadcrumbs 1/4 cup at a time and pulse in between. I added a total of 1 cup to get the consistency needed to form patties. Pulse until the mixture is chunky and sticky.
  • Place a few drops of olive oil on clean hands, then form the mixture into 4-inch patties. You will get about 8 patties total. I made a couple patties right away, but placed the rest in the fridge covered loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook the patties in batches for 2-3 minutes per side, taking care not to crowd the pan. The surface should be golden brown and crispy and the inside cooked through. Set aside and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
  • To make the cumin mayo, combine mayonnaise, cumin, salt and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until well-blended.
  • Serve hot with cumin mayo and lemon wedges on the side.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. Keep in mind that canned black-eyed peas are going to be a bit wetter. Drain and rinse them, then let them sit out for a little while to dry out slightly. If you make the beans yourself, just be sure they are very tender before you proceed.
  • 2. I recommend fresh bread crumbs for this recipe, though you may be tempted to use dried (which I think will be too dry). If you don’t want to use white bread, try using a whole grain or gluten free variety. They tend to be a little drier, so start with 1/2 cup and add 1/4 cup at a time until you have the right consistency. The mixture should be sticky and you should be able to form the mixture into patties.
  • 3. I don’t really like mayonnaise, but when it’s spiced up right and used to enhance flavor it can be quite nice. I used an organic expeller pressed canola oil variety, full fat. I have made it a policy not to bother with reduced fat anything. There is really only enough for 1 tablespoon per person, which should be plenty.

Preparation time: 40 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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