Charred Corn and Black Bean Salad

Here’s your new favorite summertime salad. You’re welcome.

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I spied a charred corn salad recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Shutterbean. (Side: everything I’ve made from Shutterbean is delectable.) I made a big batch of this salad for our Summer Fiesta at the end of June, and our guests raved about it! I’m pretty sure the secret is the fresh corn (canned or frozen just wouldn’t be the same) and the magical dressing. I tripled the recipe for the number of people I was feeding, and made a couple of tiny tweaks. The result was a vibrant, fresh side dish that really wants you to take it with you to your next barbeque.

I started with A LOT of corn. I find shucking fresh corn therapeutic, don’t you? I set up my charring station on our indoor grill, but you could use the flame from a burner (I have!). My friend, Nancy, chars her corn cobs in the toaster oven! My friends are smart.

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I rubbed the cobs with olive oil before I started charring it. Too many cobs on the grill seemed to slow down the process, so I gave them some space. The kitchen smells like freshly-popped popcorn when I char corn. (Maybe that’s why Cholula stayed within two feet of me.) Look at those browned beauties!

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As Tracy warns on Shutterbean, cutting the corn off of the cob can be a little messy. Just go with it. (Hint: dogs are helpful for stray kernels that find the floor.) When I was done, I had a huge bowl of fresh, flavorful corn.

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Dressing time!

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Since I tripled the recipe, it seemed like I was making a lot of dressing- like maybe too much. I’m not a fan of over-dressed salads. Trust me- the amount is ideal! I started by peeling and grating fresh ginger and chopping up garlic. I tossed them right into a cute little leftover jam jar– we have a ton of them!

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The dressing also needs apple cider vinegar, fresh lime juice, and some delicious honey. Salt, pepper, and olive oil joined the party. A good shake turned this jar of stuff into a tart and sweet dressing. YUM.

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The corn was lonely, so I chopped up a rainbow of bell peppers, a few green onions, and a couple of jalapenos and tossed them right into the bowl.

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The combination of fresh herbs in this salad makes it special. I used mint, parsley, and cilantro. Don’t be stingy– the herbs change everything!

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To make the salad go further (this was a big party), I added a couple of cans of drained black beans. I also added crushed red pepper for more heat and used a tad more garlic than called for in the dressing. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. How gorgeous and appetizing does this look?

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In the hectic moments before serving 40 people dinner, I forgot to add the avocado. No one cared… but it would have been scrumptious. I also think adding crispy bacon or grilled chicken would be a fun change. This would be perfect to pack up for an outdoor concert or picnic, and fit right in with our fiesta menu.

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It’s already been a couple of weeks since that fiesta, but there’s a lot of summer left. I still have time to make another batch of this salad before the fresh corn is gone…

And so do you.

Charred Corn and Black Bean Salad (adapted slightly from Shutterbean)

You’ll need:

  • 4 cobs fresh corn
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • Crushed red pepper to taste

*optional: crisp bacon or chopped grilled chicken

For the dressing:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium high. Shuck corn and brush with olive oil. Place on grill, turning regularly, until all sides are charred (15 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Combine garlic, ginger, lime juice, vinegar, and honey in a jar with a lid. Add the olive oil, seal the jar, and shake away. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Cut corn kernels off of the cobs and place in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno, green onions, parsley, mint, cilantro, crushed red pepper, and black beans. Stir until combined. When ready to serve, add the avocados. Make enough for leftovers but expect people to eat every last kernel. YUM!

**Want more recipes? Check out the list on my Food Bliss link above!**

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