Spicy Black Bean Cakes with Avocado Butter

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup yellow corn kernels (canned, frozen, or fresh)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained well
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
2 teaspoons hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil, for the skillet

1. In a medium skillet over moderately high heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the bell pepper, corn kernels, jalapeño, and cumin and mix together. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables become translucent. Add the garlic on top of vegetable mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. 

2. In a medium bowl, using a fork, smash the black beans. Add the warm vegetable mixture, cornmeal, egg, cilantro, hot sauce, and salt, and mix until thoroughly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

3. Scoop 1/4 cup of the black bean mixture onto the palm of your hand. Form into a patty that is 3 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick. Continue to make patties with the remaining mixture. 

4. Place a skillet over medium-high heat, and pour in vegetable oil until it reaches 1/4 inch up the sides. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the patties, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Gently flip and cook on the opposite sides for a minute or two. Transfer to paper towels to drain and then place them in a preheated 200F oven to keep warm. Repeat the process to cook the remaining cakes. Serve immediately. 

Yields 6 cakes 

Avocado Butter

4 ripe Haas avocadoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. To the bowl of a food processor, add the avocado, sour cream, lime juice, lime zest, and cumin. Pulse until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. 

Yields 3/4 cup avocado butter
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