Corn and Black Bean Salad from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, July 2011

In this part of the country, Silver Queen reigns. When I lived in the Chicago area I don’t remember eating much white corn. If I had seen an ear, I’d have thought something was wrong with it. Once I moved south, however, I quickly learned that there’s no sweeter corn than Silver Queen and it was the variety sought after by everyone as soon as July hit.

A dozen ears or so appeared at my door, courtesy of a friend, and while we ate the majority of them right away, simply steamed with butter and salt, I knew I wanted to do something else with at least a few ears as well. Especially since Martha provided three recipes that highlight this carb-heavy, sweet as candy vegetable.

Since I had a recent run-in with too much cilantro, the Grilled Corn with Cilantro and Sesame wasn’t going to happen at our house anytime soon. Because I didn’t have any goat cheese in the house, I also couldn’t make the Mexican-Style Corn with Citrus Cream (though it sounds and looks delicious). Instead, I decided on the Corn and Black Bean Salad. It seemed to be the perfect summer salad.

The Process
Husk three ears of corn. I have an easy way of doing this that contains the kernels well and makes the knife-work easy. I use my angel food cake pan. I stand the base of the corn in the center well and cut down down the ear, letting the kernels fall in the cake pan. Since the bottom is removable, it rotates easily when I need to turn the corn to cut more.

Once that’s done, the kernels go in a hot skillet with a bit of oil and are cooked until they brown a little. At that point they get transferred to a big bowl where they’re joined by a can of drained and rinsed black beans, some minced serrano, fresh cilantro, lime juice and avocado. A dash of salt and pepper and it gets served up immediately.

See what I mean about being a great summer salad? Everything except the lime juice and avocado can be done beforehand, adding the last two ingredients just prior to serving.

The Verdict
Due to the presence of serrano chile, Dudette opted out of trying this and we didn’t disagree. Her 12 year-old friend gave it a go and said it was good (not great, but good). Hubby liked it quite a bit (especially after I upped the amount of lime juice and salt a little bit after the first taste) but said it could do without the avocados. Granted, he doesn’t like them so that can’t really be counted as a viable criticism.

I loved this salad. The creamy avocado was a perfect complement to the crunchy corn and knowing that the beans were in there giving me all the protein I needed was a double bonus. The lime juice was perfect (I added a half lime’s worth more than the recipe called for). I loved the bite next to the sweetness of the corn.

This is an absolute perfect salad for this season and would be excellent at a picnic or summer party.

What I’d Do Different Next Time
I don’t think cilantro is needed at all, though it could still be an over-reaction to the last recipe. I think I would replace it with parsley next time.  I will also continue to use more than the one tablespoon of lime juice (two to three is more like it).

Corn and Black Bean Salad - print this recipe
from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine, July 2011

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups corn kernels (from 3 ears)
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed.
1 teaspoon serrano chile, seeded and minced
4 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced medium
Coarse salt and pepper to taste

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, approximately 3 minutes.

Transfer corn to a large bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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