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Day o’ Salads: Corn and Black Bean Salad with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette

June 20, 2007

Corn and Black Bean Salad

I try to eat salad everyday. It’s usually just some mixed greens and carrots with whatever salad dressing I have in the refrigerator, but occasionally I’m capable of getting creative. And my creativity was encouraged by Lisa over at La Mia Cucina, who’s throwing a Salad ‘Stravaganza. She asked for my salads, and I am only too happy to oblige. And yesterday, I obliged with not just one salad, but two. Two salads in one day? Am I crazy? Well, yes, but that shouldn’t have been your first indication of that.

I’ve been pondering this Corn and Black Bean Salad for a few days. Now, corn and black bean salads aren’t really that unique. I see them everywhere, so I wracked my brain trying to think of some way to make this one different. Most of the recipes I’ve seen call for cilantro, and because my dear, dear wifey/housemate Crystal loathes the stuff, that was obviously not going to work. I thought and thought and thought, but it wasn’t until I started throwing vegetables into a bowl that an idea finally occurred to me. Isn’t that just the way it always works?

This was such a perfect, light, refreshing salad after I got back from the gym last night that I’m supremely happy to have leftovers, and I usually try to avoid having leftovers. I suspect the key to this salad’s refreshing qualities was that I mixed most of the ingredients together in the afternoon (minus the dressing and onions) and let it sit in the refrigerator for about four hours. Two out of two people in the house last night agreed: This is a perfect summer salad. I even said I’d make it again this summer, until Crystal pointed out that I almost never make the same thing twice. Well, I might have to make an exception for this.

Corn and Black Bean Salad with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette

  • 3 small ears of sweet corn
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small red and 1 small orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a red onion, chopped into small pieces
  • juice from 2 limes
  • about 1-2 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • a bit less than 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
  • salt and pepper

This could almost not get easier. I suppose you could use canned corn for this, which would make it easier, but the fresh corn was so perfect, so crispy, so sweet, I don’t want to recommend anything else. I love it when corn is in season. In fact, reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma almost made me hate corn, but now I’m reminded that as long as humans are eating it, and not cows, corn is pretty darned awesome.

Corn

Shucking corn was something I hadn’t done in I don’t even know how many years. It was kind of satisfying, but the little cornsilk hairs are harder to get off than I expected. Anyway, once you’ve shucked the corn, put the cobs in a big pot and just barely cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil, and cook the corn for only about three or four minutes. Remove the corn cobs and let them cool off completely.

Once they’ve cooled off, cut the kernals from the cob with a sharp paring knife. It’s easiest if you cut them right off into the bowl you’ll be making the salad in. They like to fly around everywhere. Use your hands or a spoon to break up the little corn rows that want to stick together. Then add the beans the peppers and mix it all together. At this point, you can refrigerator everything for awhile, if you have time.

When it’s cold (or not, if you don’t want to wait) add the onions. I opted not to add them beforehand because I didn’t want the oniony taste to pervade everthing by sitting in close proximity for a long time. If you really, really love red onions, go ahead and add them sooner.

Salad lovely salad

I didn’t mix the vinagrette separately. I just added everything else into the bowl and stirred it all around. Taste it a bunch so you can tell how much olive oil and salt to add. I initially added only one lime’s worth of juice, but quickly decided that that extra lime was key. I guess it all depends on how juicy your limes are. Just keep tasting until all the flavors are balanced out right, and make sure you stir it well so the spices can cover everything. And now you’ve got salad.

Using dried cilantro is really up to you. Fresh will majorly change the balance of flavors in this, but possibly in a good way. I mostly just added the dried for visual appeal, as I’m not sure how much flavor it really has.

The other salad I ate yesterday was really just something random I threw together, but it was so tasty, I decided to share. This is how salads usually happen in my house.

Lunchtime salad

Random Salad with Broccoli bil Banadura and Feta

  • 2 c. baby romaine lettuce (a new favorite)
  • 1 small carrot, chopped into thin rounds
  • 1/3 of a cucumber, chopped into thin rounds
  • a bit less than 1/4 c. corn (this did come from a can)
  • a few crumbles of feta (I found this amazing sheep’s milk feta at the hippy mart and I am now addicted. It is richer and creamier and tangier than regular feta.)
  • 1/2 c. or so of leftover broccoli bil banadura, with some of the liquid
  • a very little bit of Goddess Dressing, or another kind of tahini based dressing

Such an excellent use for those broccoli leftovers, I have to say! The tomatoey liquid made an excellent salad dressing, especially when mixed with just a tiny bit of tahini dressing. The feta was a great match with the tangy broccoli. This salad made me really happy at lunchtime yesterday, and that is always a bonus. Salad tip to take from this one: Experiment with leftover cooked vegetables in salads. I never did before, but it might become a more regular thing in the future.

Salady goodness

Summertime is definitely the perfect time for a Salad ‘Stravaganze, and in case you need a little inspiration, Oprah (yes, Oprah, shut up I don’t want to hear it) created this ingenious chart to help you mix and match salad ingredients. Well, Oprah herself probably didn’t create it. It was more likely someone on her magazine’s staff or something. But it’s a pretty handy dandy little thing, so go check it out. Then peruse La Mia Cucina and gaze at all the bounty. Mmmm. Bounty.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2007 1:55 pm

    You so rock! I knew you’d come up with something ohhh so delish! OMG I’ve been having so much fun with these new salad recipes – you’re going to flip when you see all of them.. tried one last night – fab. Simply fab. =)

    I love the sounds of both of these – especially the corn and black bean salad, because I want to eat more beans! Hell not even “more” just beans in general (they rarely pass these lips. I know! I’m a dork!), so I’m quite excited to try this one. :D

    Thank you soooooooooooo much! Geez, I ask for one and I got 2.. you’re the best!

    xoxo

  2. June 30, 2007 11:30 pm

    Do you have any idea how much I enjoy this combination of flavors? Beans (even tho Lisa would rather do without) cumin, corn….

    Mmmmm….You’ll be in my side of the round up on Sunday. Don’t forget to check it out!

Trackbacks

  1. Salad ‘Stravaganza: Kelly’s Round Up | Sass & Veracity
  2. Salad ‘Stravaganza: Kelly’s Round Up | Sass & Veracity

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