I saw them. I just never picked them up. They were right there next to the mushrooms. I think maybe I was distracted by the blue foot, hen of the woods, or the fresh chanterelles. I'm talking about sea beans. They are a funny-looking little vegetable that reminds me of coral in form. The flavor is intense; they taste like the sea. The briny, bright flavor is a great addition to the vegetarian cook's bag of tricks. Here I pair the seafood-like texture of king oyster mushrooms with the seafood-like flavor of the sea bean to create a delicious vegetarian version of a crab cake.
1 cup king oyster mushrooms (diced)
1/2 cup sea beans (diced)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (minced)
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 1/2 tbsp mayo
1/4 green bell pepper (small dice)
1 egg (beaten)
3/4 cup bread (torn into small pieces)
1 1/2 cups panko or cracker crumbs
Cook mushrooms in a frying pan over medium heat for a few minutes until tender then set aside to cool. Fold all of the ingredients except the panko together in a large mixing bowl. You want it to be light so don't over work it. Portion mixture with an ice cream scoop, roll in panko, and pat into a flat disk. Repeat. Set cakes on a tray and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. This will help them stay together as they cook. Fill a non-stick frying pan with about a 1/2 inch of oil and place over medium heat. Remove cakes from the freezer and pan fry in batches until golden. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lemon into a 1/4 cup of mayo, add pepper, and mix. Serve this on the side of the sea cakes.