Plant-Based Meats are Hot!
We’ve been watching the world of non-meat “meats” expand and evolve over the last few years, with great anticipation. Whether you are excited about the possibility of stunningly realistic fakes, or could care less if they seem just like the “real thing” as long as they taste good, this has been a booming moment of expansion.
I even wrote a book about how to make your own Plant Based Meats.
The world seems to have plenty of beefy burgers and tacos, so industry has turned its attention to seafoods, like this “Tuna” that I made into tasty summer rolls here.
In that post, I looked into the coming wave of mock fish and seafood on your grocery store’s shelves. But it got me to thinking about the plant-based, home-style ways of making mock fish.
Jackfruit to the Rescue
The typical restaurant crab cake is an exercise in stretching a little crab with a lot of breadcrumbs, so it’s an ideal candidate for a homemade fake. The popularity of jackfruit in mock-meat dishes has to do with the fibrous texture and mild flavor of the unripe fruit, which also lends itself to a fish-like mouthfeel. Because it’s a cake, you can season the mixture to amp up the fish-y flavors, so I added minced nori seaweed. Old Bay is the classic fake-out, loading on the celery seed and spices we associate with seafood. A little white miso and nutritional yeast for umami, and you can see where we are heading.
I know that people want short ingredient lists, but when you are building a fish from plants, you need a few tools from the toolbox. Once the jackfruit is coarsely chopped and blended with crushed tofu and seasonings, you can always store it in the refrigerator overnight and form the cakes the next day, to spread the labor out over two days.
Jackfruit Plus Aquafaba Aioli for a Plant Based Winner
Of course, a fish cake is not complete without a tasty dipping sauce. I love this version of aquafaba mayo, which has a little more body from the addition of raw cashews.
(Click here for aquafaba info)
Make sure to follow the instructions and blend it for 4 minutes to aerate the aquafaba before slooooowly drizzling in the oil. You are creating an emulsion that will actually hold for a day or two in the refrigerator, from bean juice, nuts, and oil, and it takes a little finesse.
I baked the cakes for a crunchy coating without all the oil of frying. These days I’m just not that into splattering oil on my stovetop, and who needs the extra fat, anyway? I’d rather enjoy the lush fats in the creamy sauce, thank you very much.
For a plant-based, tasty appetizer that reminds you of crab, try these cakes. The crabs were left to their own devices, while we feasted on jackfruit in our nostalgic finger-food.
All is well with the World!
Jackfruit “Crab”Cakes with Aquafaba Aioli
- 1 14 ounce can green jackfruit in brine rinsed
- 12 ounces extra firm tofu drained
- 1 small onion
- 1/3 sheet nori finely minced
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons white miso
- 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1/4 cups aquafaba
- 1/4 cup raw cashews soaked at least 4 hours
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- Drain, rinse, and soak the jackfruit in cold
water while you prep, to remove as much of the brine flavor as possible. Wrap
tofu in a towel to draw out moisture. Chop the onion in the processor by
turning the machine on and dropping chunks of onion through the chute. Scrape
into a bowl. Add the jackfruit and pulse to break up into fishy chunks, don't
puree. Transfer to the bowl with the onions.
- Put the tofu, nori, nutritional yeast, old bay,
garlic, soy sauce, Dijon and turmeric in the processor and pulse to finely
crumble the tofu, don't puree. Add to the jackfruit with the oats and stir
well, mix with your hands to make a mixture that holds together.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
Spray with oil if desired. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Scoop 1/4 cup portions of the jackfruit mixture and place
each in panko and gently press in the coating. Place on pan, bake for
20 minutes, carefully flip the cakes and bake for 20 more. Cool on a rack or serve hot.
- In a good blender, combine the aquafaba, cashews, garlic,
parsley lemon juice, Dijon and salt. Secure the lid and process, starting on a
lower speed and increasing until the cashews are smoothly pureed. Stop and
scrape down any bits of cashew that are on the sides of the blender
container.When the mixture is smooth, remove the plug from the lid and replace
the lid. Start on low and increase to high and process for 4 minutes. At that
point, start very slowly drizzling in the canola oil in a thin stream. It
should take a couple of minutes to incorporate it. Drizzle in the olive oil in
the same manner. Scrape the aioli into a storage tub or jar and refrigerate. It
will thicken more as it chills. Keeps, tightly covered, for up to a week.