Grilled Shrimp With Black Bean Cakes And Coriander Sauce

May 14, 2021Cakes Recipes

Over the years, we have probably sold more of this dish than any other item on the Bayona menu. And it all started when I stole the idea for the black bean cakes from my friend Bruce Auden, who at the time was chef at Charlie’s 517 in Houston. (He’s now chef and owner of Biga on the Banks in San Antonio.) I have no idea what his original recipe was, but the idea of black beans (which I love) in the crispy-on-the-outside-creamy-on-the-inside package was just too good to resist! I adapted a Cuban black bean recipe, added some grilled shrimp and a double-coriander sauce (using both the seeds and leaves). I’m guessing I’ve served over 150,000 of these babies in the last twenty years. This dish will come together much more quickly if you prepare the black bean cakes the night or morning before you plan to serve them.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound black beans, picked clean and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive or corn oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small green bell or poblano pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped (if not using poblano)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour, for dusting cakes
  • Sour cream and cilantro sprigs, as garnish
  • 4 (6-inch) bamboo skewers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 medium or large headless shrimp, peeled and deveined (leaving tails intact)
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Place the black beans in cold water to cover. Soak overnight, or for at least 1 hour. Drain, rinse, place in a large pot, and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil, skim the foam, then simmer over low heat for about 1 hour. Add more water, if necessary, to keep the beans covered.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add the vegetables, along with the honey, vinegar, chili powder, and cumin, to the beans and continue to simmer. When the beans are quite soft and are starting to break down, season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the beans are creamy.
  3. Remove the bean mixture from the heat and strain, reserving the liquid. Puree in a food processor, then transfer to a baking sheet. Spread the puree evenly and let it cool completely. Form the puree into little cakes shaped like hockey pucks (use about 1/2 cup per cake). The consistency is perfect if it is moist enough to gather into a ball, but not so wet that the mixture sticks to your hands.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. To finish the cakes, lightly dust them with flour. Heat a medium skillet (lightly coated with oil) over medium-high heat. Sauté the cakes just long enough to get a nice crust on each side. When ready to serve, place them on baking sheets in the oven to warm through. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro.
  5. Soak the skewers in hot water.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil and seasonings. Toss the shrimp with this marinade and refrigerate while you make the coriander sauce.
  7. Turn on the broiler or light the grill.
  8. Place 4 shrimp on each skewer.
  9. Meanwhile, heat the black bean cakes.
  10. Broil or grill the shrimp 2–3 minutes on each side, until just cooked through. Remove from the skewers, arrange on four plates, and drizzle with the warm coriander sauce. Serve with a black bean cake.
  11. Place the shallot, orange zest and juice, wine, vinegar, and coriander in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the liquid is reduced to 2 or 3 tablespoons. While it’s still hot, whisk in softened butter by the spoonful until the sauce is emulsified (it will look thick and creamy). Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

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