Contributing Monkie Kathy Patalsky
Published on September 17, 2010
Photography Kathy Patalsky
If you’re looking for a high-brow, party-savvy appetizer recipe made from affordable low-brow, healthy ingredients, my Fiesta Balls are for you. In a flash you can turn a boring can of white beans, some veggie accents and spices into creative, eye-catching balls that can easily be served at your next VIP’s-only dinner party.
The presentation is simple and chic. Each lightly fried ball is placed on a large half-circle tomato slice. Then dusted with a hint of cayenne, paprika, pepper or your fave warming spice or zesty herb. Add a spicy salsa or harissa spread on the side or drizzled over top. Your guests will be raving “These balls are amazeballs!”
The best part about this recipe is that you can customize it to your hearts delight. Hate corn? Use mushrooms. Hate mushrooms? Use spinach. Hate spinach? Use olives. The veggie accent is totally up to you. Spices too. You can make these balls as hot and spicy as you’d like. So whip out a low brow can of cannellini beans and brush off your serving tray. These balls are ready for their silver platter debut. Here is my originol recipe for Fiesta Bean Balls. Recipe variations follow below.
This Recipe Makes 10 Appetizer Balls
For the Fiesta Balls
1 15 oz. can of organic cannellini beans
10 oz. canned sweet corn (3/4 a can) (left whole or processed/minced in food processor) spices: 2-3 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cumin (add other spices if you’d like)
1 tsp maple syrup
1-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups finely crushed/ground light crackers (rice or lentil work best)
1/2 tsp pink sea salt
dashes of pepper
*Plus some Extra Virgin Olive Oil for light ‘frying’
Instructions for Plating:
1. 2 large tomatoes cut into thick circles, then halved.
2. Cayenne spice for dusting.
1. Pour beans, corn and all ingredients except the rushed lentil or rice crackers into a large bowl. NOTE: You can leave corn ‘whole’ or process/mince it in a food processor for a finer texture to your fiesta balls.
2. With a fork, mash the beans and corn until a pasty substance forms.
3. In a blender, process your lentil or rice crackers into finely ground bits. About 1-2 cups. Fold the bits into the mixture.
4. Turn heat on stove to med-high. Add a thin layer of EVOO to saute pan. Wait until hot.
5. Form bean/corn mix into tiny balls or patties or a large pancake. Place on hot oil and let ‘fry for just a minute on all sides Remove from pan when edges are browned.
6. Transfer to paper towel to cool.
7. Serve each ball on a tomato half. And with a side of salsa verde, lime wedges, a dash of cayenne. I like some lemon juice spritzed over top. Serve warm.
Recipe variations include:
Mushroom: Substitute the corn with 1 cup of processed mixed raw mushrooms. This was about 1 3/4 cups of loose raw mushrooms. When you blend them in a food processor they become soft, minced and almost like a chunky mushroom paste.
Spinach: Substitute the corn with 1 cup of minced and wilted spinach. Or use organic frozen spinach.
Olive: Substitute the corn with 1 cup food processed black or kalamata olives. Turns into an ‘olive paste’. Use your imagination to create even more bean/veg flavor combos.