When summer comes around, a visit to the Farmer’s Market can be an epiphany. I love strolling through the isles, seeing what everyone has for sale, and trying to figure out what fun things I could make with all the beautiful produce. Bright colors always enthrall me, so I’m drawn to fresh corn and tomatoes … especially since they are the colors of the San Francisco Forty Niners, LOL!
I have a lot of friends who are trying to get healthier and are looking for vegetable-based recipes. They are not necessarily vegetarians, but want to increase their daily fruit and vegetable intake. I also have friends who are vegetarians or vegans and have restricted diets. I like being able to serve all of my friends delicious meals that they will enjoy! I am always looking for ways to improve flavors and textures and find variety for our meals. Adding beans to your vegetarian dishes adds protein and helps keep you full longer! If you want even more protein in this salad, feel free to add cubed, shredded, or crumbled cheese.
Have you found Cook Illustrated’s sister magazine yet? It is called Cook’s Country and is focused on the home cook. It is very approachable and fun to read. You can find recipes that your family will love every day of the week and things your guests would be thrilled to have you make for them!
Cook’s Country writes, “Fresh off the cob is perhaps the best way to eat summer corn, but corn tossed with beans and tomatoes is a close second. The sweetness of the beans and the acidity of the tomatoes bring out the flavor of the corn. We wanted to find the best way to combine and flavor this trio. Here’s what we discovered:
Sweet summer corn is the star here; don’t try using either frozen or canned corn. If you like your corn salad spicy, include some of the jalapeño seeds.”
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
When working with hot chiles and peppers, wearing latex gloves will protect your hands from the hot oils. You don’t have to wear them of course, but they are inexpensive, readily available, and make cleaning up much quicker. If you don’t wear gloves, make sure you wash your hands well with soap and hot water!
Chiles and peppers get hotter the closer to the stem you get. The seeds and ribs (the white veins on the inside of peppers) contain the most heat, so remove them for less spice.
Kitchen Skill: Mincing fresh herbs
To get very finely chopped ingredients
Mincing is the finest size of chopping. With feathery herbs like cilantro and Italian parsley, the easiest way to get the leaves from the bunch is to “shave” them with a very sharp knife. Then remove any of the large stems and chop the rest. Cilantro stems in particular are quite tender and fine to be eaten along with the leaves.
The sharper the knife, the easier it is to chop and the less you bruise the leaves. Gather the herbs into a pile and move your sharp knife across the pile. Re-pile the herbs and cut again. Turn the cutting board 1/4 turn and chop again, cutting the opposite way across the pile. Keep cutting until the herbs are very finely chopped.
Fresh Corn Salad with Black Beans and Tomatoes
Modified recipe from Cook’s Country magazine
Yield: 8 servings
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 chile pepper, stemmed, seeded, & minced (mild to hot per your taste)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (15.5-oz) can black beans, rinsed
6 scallions, sliced thin
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
Finely minced jalapeno, or other hot pepper, optional
For the dressing: Shake all of the dressing ingredients together in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake again before dressing the salad.
For the salad: Cook the corn in 6 quarts of boiling salted water until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
Break cobs in half, stand them on the flat side and cut the kernels from each cob into a large mixing bowl using a sharp knife. Add the tomatoes, beans, scallions, cilantro, and toss. If you like a spicier salad, you can add some finely minced jalapeno to the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pour on half the dressing. Toss, taste, and add more dressing if desired. It is ready to serve or can be held at room temperature for a few hours if needed.
MAKE AHEAD: This salad can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated a day in advance. Before serving, bring to room temperature and freshen with a squeeze of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
OFF SEASON: If you want to make this during the winter, use frozen corn kernels and canned black beans, but skip the tomatoes. You could add finely chopped red bell peppers for color.