Panfried Black Turtle Bean Cakes with Avocado,
Papaya, Strawberries, Jicama, Leaf Lettuce
and Peppered Honey-Lime Dressing

Serves 4



colander | 3-quart plastic container | measuring spoons | paring knife | cook's knife | cutting board | measuring cup | 5-quart saucepan | 7-quart stainless steel bowl | plastic food handler's gloves | baking sheet | plastic wrap | 3-quart stainless steel bowl | whisk | medium nonstick sauté pan | spatula | paper towels

turtle bean cakes

Black Turtle Bean Cake

3/4 pound dried black turtle beans, washed, picked over,
   and soaked for 12 hours in 2 quarts cold water
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons safflower oil (for panfrying the cakes)

Peppered Honey-Lime Dressing

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Key lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black peppercorns
3/4 cup safflower oil
salt to taste

Root and Fruit

1 pound jicama
1 pint strawberries
2 medium, papayas (about 1 pound)
2 medium ripe avocados (about 3/4 pound)
Peppered Honey-Lime Dressing

Salad Greens and Garnish

3/4 pound leaf lettuce (green or red), cored, separated into leaves, washed, and dried
8 teaspoons sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Prepare the Black Turtle Bean Cakes

Drain the soaked beans in a colander. Rinse the beans with cold running water and drain thoroughly before cooking.

Bring 2 quarts of water and the salt to a boil in a 5-quart whisk saucepan over high heat. Add the beans. Adjust the heat and simmer the beans until tender; about 1 hour. Drain the beans in a colander; then return them to the 5-quart saucepan. Cool the beans in the saucepan by running them under cold running water for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans thoroughly, then transfer to a 7-quart stainless steel bowl. Add the onion, basil, jalapeño pepper and garlic. Using your hands (I suggest wearing a pair of plastic food handler's gloves), crush the beans into a lumpy paste and thoroughly combine all the ingredients.

Form the mixture into 8 individual 4-ounce balls. Flatten each ball into a cake 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Lightly coat both sides of each cake with flour. Place the cakes on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.


Make the Peppered Honey-Lime Dressing

In a 3-quart stainless steel bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar; lime juice, honey, and peppercorns. Add the safflower oil in a slow, steady stream while whisking until incorporated. Season with salt. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until needed.


Prepare The Root and Fruit

Peel the jicama, then cut it into strips 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Place the jicama in a 7-quart stainless steel bowl.

Place the strawberries in a colander and spray them with lukewarm water. Shake the colander to remove excess water from the berries. Stem and then slice the berries 1/4 inch thick. Place the sliced berries in the bowl with the jicama.

Peel, split, seed, and then cut the papayas into 1/2 inch dice. Place the papayas in the bowl with the jicama and strawberries.

Peel, pit, and then cut the avocados into 1/2 inch dice. Place in the bowl. Vigorously whisk—make that very vigorously because this dressing does not stay emulsified for very long after it is whisked—the peppered honey-lime dressing. Pour 1/2 cup of dressing over the root and fruit in the bowl. (Cover the remaining 1/2 cup of dressing with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until needed.) Toss very gently to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed (up to 3 or 4 hours).


Finish and Assemble the Salad

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the safflower oil in a medium nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place 4 black bean cakes in the pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side, until uniformly golden brown. Place the panfried cakes on a baking sheet. Discard the oil in the pan, wipe clean with paper towels, and then repeat the panfrying procedure with the remaining 4 cakes. When all the cakes have been panfried and transferred to the baking sheet, place the sheet in the preheated oven and heat the cakes for 10 minutes. While the cakes are heating, assemble the salads.

Arrange and divide the leaf lettuce on four 10- to 12-inch room-temperature plates. Vigorously whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of peppered honey-lime dressing. Dress the greens on each plate with 2 tablespoons of dressing. Place an equal amount of root and fruit on the greens on each plate. Remove the hot black turtle bean cakes from the oven and place 2 cakes on each salad. Top each cake with 1 to 2 teaspoons of sour cream and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.

Recipes from:
Salad Days
Main-Course Salads for a First-Class Meal

Photography by Peter Johansky
Simon & Schuster Editions
1998, Hardcover, US $27.50
ISBN: 0-684-82261-X
Recipes & photos reprinted by permission


Salad Days
Main-Course Salads for a First-Class Meal



Copyright © 1998—the electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc. All rights reserved.