Mexican Loaded Corn Cakes

Mexican Loaded Corn Cakes

As you have seen, we are reciving a lot of corn in our CSA boxes this summer. I started looking for ways to use corn and became infatuated with the idea of corn cakes when I realized this was an opportunity to recreate one of my favorite dishes in Chicago: black bean tostadas from Handlebar.

Handlebar is an amazing vegetarian restaurant located in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. They serve a mix of Mexican and Southern Soul food, all vegetarian with dairy free and gluten free substitutions available. I love their fried avocado tacos, black bean maduro and of course black bean tostadas. I highly recommend if you are in Chicago.

The Handlebar black bean tostadas are a hand-pressed tostada covered with black beans, tons of melted cheese, tomatillo salsa, and heaping mounds of guacamole. Their tostadas are unlike any tostada I have ever had. It is much more like a cake than the crispy chip-like tostadas I am used to.

My version of the Handlebar black bean tostadas are made of a corn cake topped with lightly refried black beans, melted Monterey jack cheese, pico de gallo, and guacamole. We each ate two and were very full, making these a very substantial vegetarian main dish.

This recipe is very versatile; you can top the cakes with just about anything. They would be delicious with pulled chicken/pork/beef and or with jalapeño added to the batter.

The key to this dish is prep and organization. We make the pico de gallo and the guacamole first to let the flavors meld together. For the pico, combine 2 tomatoes chopped, ¼ to ½ red onion, ½ jalapeño, juice of ½ lime, 1 heaping tbls cilantro, and 1/8 tsp salt.

For the guacamole, mash 1 avocado, 1 clove of garlic minced, juice of ½ lime, and ¼ tsp salt.

Next, get the black beans going. This black bean recipe is from Cookie and Kate and is my go-to for any type of Mexican black beans. I use these in tacos, on nachos, in black bean bowls, and here!

For the black beans, we soften some onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a medium skillet. Then we add some cumin, a can of black beans, sprinkle of salt, and a little water. The beans cook for 5 minutes covered and then we crush a few of the beans. For this dish I wanted to keep most of the beans whole but for tacos I often mash them more. We turn off the heat and add a big squeeze of lime juice to finish them off.

While the beans are cooking, let’s start the corn cakes. The corn cake recipe is adapted from Table for Two. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Add the milk and stir until thick and well mixed. It will look like a very thick batter. Then, we add the corn and mix until well incorporated.

Batter after adding the corn.

Now it’s time to fry them. We heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the batter to the hot oil and cook until brown, then flip.

Frying corn cakes.

 

Finished corn cakes.

Top the cakes with beans and cheese. Cheese is melted and then, top with pico, guacamole, and any other toppings like cilantro, pickled onion or jalapeno. Enjoy!

Corn cakes loaded with toppings.
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Mexican Loaded Corn Cakes

These corn cakes are inspired by the black bean tostadas from Handlebar in Chicago. Two cakes per person make for a filling vegetarian dinner. They are best fresh but the cakes will keep in the fridge for a day or two. I recommend reheating in the oven.

The black bean recipe is from Cookie and Kate and the corn cakes are adapted from Table for Two.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author thebraveradish

Ingredients

Pico De Gallo

  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • ¼ to ½ white onion chopped
  • ½ jalapeno chopped
  • ½ lime juiced
  • 1 tbls cilantro chopped
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Guacamole

  • 1 avocado mashed
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ lime juiced
  • ¼ tsp salt

Lightly refried black beans

  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ jalapeno chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • ½ lime juiced

Corn Cakes

  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbls cilantro chopped
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups of corn
  • vegetable oil

Additional Toppings

  • Grated Monterey jack cheese
  • Pickled Onion
  • Pickled Jalapeno
  • Cilantro
  • Sour Cream or Crema

Instructions

  1. First, prepare the pico de gallo and the guacamole. Combine ingredients for both and let them sit while you make the beans and corn cakes.
  2. Next, start the beans. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the cumin and a sprinkle of salt and cook for 30 seconds, then add the water. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mash ¼ of the beans. Add the lime juice, stir to combine, and cover to keep warm until the corn cakes are ready.
  3. While the beans are stewing, start the corn cakes. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cilantro, in a medium bowl. Add the milk and stir until thick and well mixed. It will look like a very thick batter. Add the corn and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Now it’s time to fry them. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Measure 1/3 cup spoonfuls of batter and place in skillet. Gently press down on the batter to flatten into a cake. Cook for about 5 minutes on one side until brown, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove and repeat until all batter is used. I was able to fit 4 cakes at a time in my skillet so made 2 batches.
  5. Top the cakes with beans and cheese. Broil to melt the cheese. Then, top with pico, guacamole, and any other toppings like cilantro, pickled onion or jalapeno. Enjoy!

 

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