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Black Bean and Corn Salad


Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Perhaps you wonder how many times a recipe writer creates a combination of ingredients before their taste buds say, “That’s it!” For this recipe, I attempted several combinations of different amounts of corn, black beans and other herbs over a 2 year period, but it always seemed that I needed one more ingredient to give it the finishing taste I wanted.  Then, I discovered Kala Jeera or black cumin, a spice used in Indian food. I crushed the Kala Jeera seeds with a mortar and pestle to release the flavor before adding this herb to a mixture of olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, sea salt and black pepper to create a dressing to mix with the vegetables and herbs.  After blending all the ingredients, the moment for sampling had arrived.  Dipping my spoon into the center of the colorful mixture, I brought forth a blend of all ingredients…put it in my mouth…and waited.  First, I discovered the corn, then the black beans and red onion followed by the parsley and cilantro.  And then, it happened…an earthy warmth spread through my mouth… and my taste buds said, “That’s it!”

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Ingredients

2 cups fresh corn cut from 2 ears white or bi-color corn (can also use frozen white shoe-peg corn, thawed)
1 14.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium red pepper, washed and dried with membrane and seeds removed
1/2 medium red onion, peeled
leaves from 24 stems Italian flat-leaf parsley to make 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (leaves from 12 stems cilantro and 12 stems Italian parsley can also be used)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kala Jeera (black cumin) seeds, crushed (can substitute regular cumin seed)


Directions

To prepare the vegetables and herbs:
Shuck, wash and scrub the corn to remove silks. Hold an ear of corn over a large bowl and use a short paring knife to cut the kernels from corn from the base to the tip of the cob. Repeat this process with the second ear of corn. Use a spoon to find and remove any remaining corn silks from the cut corn. .
Using a sieve or a colander, drain the liquid from the black beans, then run water through the beans to rinse them. Allow the excess liquid to drain from the beans and then add beans to the kernels of corn.
After removing the membrane and seeds from the red pepper, cut the pepper into one inch pieces.
Remove the peel and outer layer from the quarter section of the red onion. Cut the onion into one inch pieces.
Rinse the parsley and/or cilantro and wrap in a towel to remove excess moisture. Remove leaves from parsley and/or cilantro. Discard stems.
Put the red pepper, onion, parsley and/or cilantro into a food processor. Chop to a fine dice. Add the diced red pepper, onion, parsley and/or cilantro to the corn and black beans.

To make the dressing:
Mix together the olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. Add the fine sea salt and coarse ground black pepper. Grind the Kala Jeera or regular cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to release the essence of the spice. Add the Kala Jeera/cumin to the dressing mixture. Whisk to blend.

Blend the dressing into the vegetable/herb mixture, stirring gently to incorporate the dressing throughout the vegetables and herbs. The salad can be served immediately but the flavor intensifies if you wait about 20 minutes for the flavors to blend before serving. Left overs should be refrigerated. The salad can be served cold but the flavor seems to be more pronounced at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings

2 Responses to “Black Bean and Corn Salad”

  1. Janet Owens Says:

    Hi Ninavah,

    This sounds wonderful!
    The corn is not cooked?

    Hope you are well!

    Janet

  2. admin Says:

    Good question, Janet. You read the recipe correctly and the corn used is raw…not cooked. If you prefer, the corn can be steamed or boiled for about 2 minutes, then rinsed in cold water to stop the cooking process. But nutritionists report that fresh, sweet corn can be eaten raw…even right off the cob. To me, raw corn is a bit “crunchier” than corn that has been cooked…so raw corn adds texture along with its distinctively sweet flavor.