Monday, May 30, 2011

Potluck Side Dish: Corn and Black Bean Salad

Fiance' and I were invited to a barbeque yesterday where all guests were asked to bring a side or a dessert.  One of my favorite side dishes to make for a summer barbeque is Corn and Black Bean Salad.  You can find umpteen versions of it on the internet, but here's the one I put together yesterday:

In advance, strip the kernels off of four ears of fresh sweet corn.  You can either use a sharp knife or a corn stripper.  I then toss the corn in olive oil and bit of salt and roast it in a very hot oven - 475.  Putting the corn on a single layer on a baking sheet and stirring it frequently helps.  It took me 20 minutes or so to get the corn slightly browned, but watch yours closely - some ovens may perform better and thus your cooking time will be decreased.  You ideally want your corn to be slightly browned - this will add a nice roasty/smoky flavor to your dish.

After the corn has cooled (I refrigerated mine overnight), dice 4-5 firm tomatoes.  The firmer the tomato, the better the texture of your salad will be.  Also, make sure to remove the seeds and accompanying goo - this will prevent your salad from being soggy.

Next, open a can of black beans and rinse them in a colander.  This will reduce the sodium content and "canned taste of your salad."  Mix tomatoes, corn and beans in large bowl.

Now, it's time to add some color to your salad - I went with greens.  I finely chopped four green onions (also known as scallions), both the white and green parts, along with some fresh cilantro.  Make sure to use fresh cilantro if you're adding it.  You can also use minced red onion instead of the green onion.

For my "kick," I deseeded and minced two fresh jalapenos (I used a chopper - you do not want to get jalapeno juice in your eye!).  If you want even more heat, you can leave the seeds in or use serranos.

For the dressing, I juiced two limes and added a healthy amount of fresh ground pepper, 1/2 tsp or so of sea salt, about a 1/2 tsp of cumin and a little garlic powder.  I then whisked in a few glugs of olive oil and combined the whole deal with the salad.  Taste it and decide if it needs more seasoning - mine needed a little more salt.

Ideally, you want this to sit for an hour or so for the flavors to combine, and serve at room temperature.   This also makes for a good filling for burritos or veggie tacos, as well as on a taco salad.

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