I recently came across black lentils for the first time and knew I had to come up with a really special way to use them. What I created far exceeded my expectations! The potato cakes are so crispy and delicious and the lentils, while they obviously don’t have the squishy texture of caviar (which I never really cared for anyway), they do have a seafood taste. By cooking them in kombu and shitake broth, the fish flavor is subtle, yet perfect. This recipe makes a very large amount of both the caviar and the potato cakes, so please reduce it unless you are making it for a party as I was. And just so you know – they will disappear very, very fast, so you might want to make more than you think you need! I used fresh dill, chives and lemon zest to garnish them, but I bet they would also be wonderful with fresh cilantro, rosemary, orange zest, fried sage leaves, or whatever you have on hand. They are just so darn good they will always taste great!
- 1 c black lentils
- 1 oz dried shitakes
- 12” piece kombu
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 T dulse flakes
Separately soak the shitakes in 2 c warm water and the kombu in 4 c warm water, for 30 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, place the lentils, salt, dulse, and the shitakes and kombu, with 2 cups of the soaking liquid from each.
Bring to a gentle boil, then turn heat to low, and with lid open a little bit, simmer for 25 minutes, or until tender. Remove kombu and shitakes and then drain lentils.
For the potato cakes (latkes) – makes about 75 bite size
- 6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, cut into chunks
- 2/3 c quick cooking oats
- 3/4 c plain bread crumbs
- 1 T salt
- 1 t onion powder
- canola or safflower oil for frying
In a glass bowl, combine oats with 1 1/3 c water and microwave on high for a minute and a half. Set aside.
Grate potatoes and onion together (onion will help potatoes from turning brown) in a food processor or by hand.
In a large bowl, combine grated potatoes and onion with bread crumbs, salt, onion powder and oatmeal.
Heat oil in pan over medium high heat. Form mix into small circles and cook in oil until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
If the mix gets too liquidy, you can add more bread crumbs as you go along.
For the cream
- 8 oz tofutti better than sour cream, or other vegan sour cream
- 1/4 c chopped chives
To serve – place a teaspoon of cream on each cake and place a teaspoon of caviar over the cream. Garnish with your choice of chopped dill, lemon zest, chives, parsley, cilantro, fried sage, orange zest – just about anything you like!