I was recently reminded of Jerimiah Tower's great San Francisco restaurant, Stars. Tower was a seminal figure in the food revolution but history hasn't favored him the way it has others.
On the rare times I've thought of them, I've always thought of Tower when it comes to black bean cakes. They seem a little dated now but some leftover runner beans made me wonder what I could do with the inspiration.
I mashed the beans with two chopped serrano chiles, half an onion, some garlic and cilantro. Most of the recipes I saw called for cornmeal, which I didn't have on hand so I used masa harina, dried nixtamalized corn. After mixing with an egg, I made "burgers" and rolled them in more masa harina before frying. About 5 minutes on each side did it. I topped them with some tomatillo salsa.
They were nice but they didn't rock my world. It was a good way to use up leftovers but I'd hesitate to serve this to company. Have you had better luck or is this just a "nice" dish?