Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Northwest Flavors: Sweet Corn and Black Beans

Happy autumn!

With a slow start to the growing season this year, late summer produce is hanging on into fall at local farmers’ markets here in the Northwest. Although we’re nearing the end of the corn and tomato season, I still found fat ears of corn at several vendors at Seattle’s University and Ballard Farmers’ Markets a couple days ago. Do you have a favorite corn recipe?

I love a mix of color and textures, and this healthful salad features sweet corn and dried black beans from Alvarez Farms, red onions and shallots from Anselmo’s, parsley and radishes from Full Circle Farm, and orange cherry tomatoes from my garden.

Since Sunday afternoon is my major cookfest of the week, I made this salad to last into mid-week for my take-to-work lunches. (I don’t know about you, but three lunches with the same dish is about my limit.)

For a relatively light appetite, this makes four servings. For the black beans, I prefer soaking and cooking my own, but you can of course cut down the time by using canned beans.

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salad
1 large ear sweet corn, husked, boiled lightly or steamed

One-half cup dried black beans, soaked several hours, then simmered until softened but still firm

One-quarter medium red onion, minced

Two large radishes, diced

2 tablespoons minced flat-leave parsley or cilantro

About 4 or 5 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters


1.5 T white balsamic vinegar or fresh-squeezed lime juice

1 shallot bulb, minced

2 T extra virgin olive oil

Soak the black beans overnight and simmer at a light boil for about an hour. Check the beans after 30 minutes, then check periodically until done. Pour into a strainer and drain beans. Set aside.

For the vinaigrette, add the vinegar or lime juice to a small bowl, then add the minced shallot. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then whisk in the olive oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Boil corn a few minutes, then let cool. Holding the ear vertical on a large cutting board, slice off the kernels with a sharp knife. Crumble the kernels apart and place in a medium bowl.

Mince the radish, onions, and parsley and slice the tomatoes.

Combine all the ingredients into the bowl with the corn, then toss with the vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To make a meal of this, I like to serve on a bed of mixed greens and/or top with thin slivers of kale or Swiss chard to amp up the antioxidant level. (I've also read that black beans have the highest antioxidant level of beans because of their dark color.) I also top with a slice or chunks of avocado to add a creamy texture.

Pretty simple, huh?

Hey, I'd love to hear if you make this salad and what riffs you might take on the basic recipe. Just click on comments below. Enjoy!


Barry said...

I make a pasta sauce using fresh corn.

Use any kind of dry pasta you like, although larger shells are ideal.

Put the water on to boil.

Chop up some onion and garlic and shred some basil. Dice a fresh tomato or two, and (for 2 people) cut the kernels from two ears of corn.

Put the pasta in the boiling water (8 minutes, roughly, to cook).

Quickly saute the onion and garlic in olive oil. With four minutes remaining, add the tomato and corn (moderately high temp). Add basil in the last minute and stir until wilted.

Mix pasta and sauce, grate some fresh reggiano and eat.

jill said...

Thanks Barry, that sounds really easy, healthful, and tasty!