Saturday, October 22, 2011

VP Corn and Black Bean Salad

I recently got home from Viable Paradise, where I go as part of the workshop staff every year. Part of my staff duties include cooking for a whole bunch of people, all week.

The kitchens are tiny, the workshop is on an island (lovely and idyllic Martha's Vineyard), and ingredients may or may not be available from one day to the next; as a result, I especially prize recipes that have the inherent flexibility not only to scale-up well, but to adapt to missing or substituted ingredients gracefully.

This is one of those recipes.

Mac's VP Corn and Black Bean Salad

  • 4-6 ears of fresh corn It was the tail-end of the season, but we got our fresh corn at Morning Glory Farm, and were very happy -- but if good fresh corn isn't available, frozen will do, or even canned)
  • 1 16 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed (I usually use about half-pound of dried black beans, though, soaked overnight then simmered in chicken or veg stock until tender)
  • 1 medium-to-large sweet onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro (I've made this recipe with curly parsley, too -- it's that flexible)
  • 1 large ripe mango (frozen will work, too, though - you want the amounts of corn, black beans, and mango to be roughly equivalent to one another)
Peel, clean, husk ingredients as needed, small-to-medium dice, so everything is about corn-kernel or black-bean sized.

  • 4-6 fresh limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (you can use granulated or powdered, if fresh is too strong for you)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar (I like sugar-in-the-raw)
  • 1 tablespoon or so each of Oregano, Thyme, Parsley, Sweet Basil, to taste (fresh is best, dried is fine too, though)
Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl, dump the dressing over top, stir gently, let marinate as time permits (a couple of hours, at least, for best results) -- Stir again, right before serving.