Delicious savory Black-Eyed Pea Cakes are the perfect Southern-inspired appetizer or side dish.
This week we’re packing up our daughter for her second year in college, and getting our baby ready for his senior year in high school. Our time (and my brain) are stretched a bit too thin so I’ve been updating and cleaning up some older posts to share with you until I get back into my routine cooking schedule.
Our last week or so of summer break has been filled with snagging time in between the washing and packing and more washing to spend time together in our nuclear family unit before all of what the back-to-school schedule brings. This recipe for Black-Eyed Pea Cakes is one of the early recipes shared here back in February 2010. These crispy savory cakes are sneaky good. Let me tell you all about them.
Black-eyed peas and me, we go way back – truly one of my oldest comfort foods. A while back a trip to Grits and Groceries introduced me to Black-Eyed Pea Cakes, and whoa Nellie! Crazy good. They remind me of falafel, only slightly flattened, and better.
I purchased the Grits and Groceries cookbook, as well as a calendar packed with more recipes, but no Black-Eyed Pea Cake recipe to be found. After a quick search online, tons of recipes for this southern dish were found, but I didn’t have all the ingredients for any of the recipes that looked good, especially the one Ezra Pound Cake adapted from Martha Hall Foose’s “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea.” So I did what any southern-black-eyed-pea-lovin girl would do, I improvised, using what we had on hand. I was quite happy with the results. Quite happy indeed. And when served with Comeback Sauce they are out of this world! Be sure to check out our recipe for Comeback Sauce. It’s like our homemade version of Zaxby’s Zax Sauce.
To make these delectable drool-inducing little cakes, begin by warming drained black-eyed peas, while you prep the other ingredients. Saute the onion and garlic together in a little olive oil until softened. In a food processor, pulse about half of the black-eyed peas, bacon, onion, garlic, cilantro, basil, cumin, cayenne, and salt a few times until blended. But not too much! It doesn’t have to be totally smooth.
Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in the remaining whole black-eyed peas and heavy cream. Chill mixture until cool. This is an essential step. When it cools, the mixture stiffens so cakes can be formed, otherwise you’ll have floppy cakes that will fall apart when battered. And no one wants floppy cakes. That’s another thing I love about this recipe, you can make the mixture a couple of days ahead and refrigerate.
After the mixture has cooled, gently form the cakes and set aside. We made ours about 3-inches in diameter and 3/4-inches thick, but you can make them smaller if you’d like. Just be sure to adjust cooking time.
Prepare three separate bowls for battering. Flour goes in the first one. Beat an egg with half and half together in the second one, and bread crumbs go in the third one.
Batter the cakes by coating first with flour, then the egg mixture and finish with the bread crumbs, being careful to keep the shape of the cake intact while battering. Set aside after coated.
Line a plate or cooling rack with paper towels ready for cakes when cooked. Prepare the skillet by heating 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Fry cakes in small batches, cooking approximately 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. While frying the cake monitor the oil for overheating.
Serve Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with a heaping serving of comeback sauce and be ready for everyone to come back for more!
- 2 15.8 oz. cans of black-eyed peas; drained
- 1 slice of bacon; fried and crumbled
- 4-8 tablespoons olive oil; divided
- ½ cup onion; chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic; minced
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup half and half
- 2 cups panko or fresh bread crumbs
- Begin by warming the black-eyed peas, while you prep the other ingredients.
- Sauté the onion and garlic together in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until softened.
- Add half of the black-eyed peas (about 1½ cups), bacon, onion, garlic, cilantro, basil, cumin, cayenne, salt to a food processor and pulse a few times until blended. Not too much. It doesn’t need to be totally smooth.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in the remaining black-eyed peas and heavy cream.
- Chill the mixture until cool – about an hour or so.
- After the mixture has cooled, gently form the cakes and set aside.
- Prepare 3 separate bowls for battering. Flour goes in the first one. Then beat an egg and the half and half together in the second one. And the bread crumbs go in the third one.
- Batter the cakes by coating first with flour, then the egg mixture and finish with the bread crumbs. Set aside after coated.
- Have a plate or cooling rack lined with paper towels ready for cakes when cooked.
- Prepare the skillet by heating 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
- Fry cakes in small batches, cooking approximately 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Be sure to watch the oil for overheating, and, if needed, add additional oil or start with new oil if it gets too dark.
- Remove cakes, let cool on paper towel lined plate.
- Serve with Comeback Sauce.
Originally posted February 2, 2010. Updated August 14, 2015.