Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Roasted Corn, Black Bean Arugula Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

A version of this Black Bean and Roasted Corn Salad was a hit at the Gathering in the Garden event at Emory University. Joyce Dillon of Healthy Living and Balance coordinated that event, and she thought it tasty enough to ask me for the recipe, so I thought I'd go ahead and post it here.

I ran into Joyce again last week at the Release Party for the Georgia Organics 2007 Local Food Guide. Here she is (in green)chatting with Alice Rolls, Georgia Organic's executive director, during the release party. The Local Food Guide is a fantastic resource for all things regional, seasonal and local including growers, markets, restaurants and businesses that suport sustainable foods and farms in Georgia -- some of which are right here in our neighborhoods. It's a must have so visit the Georgia Organics site where you can download a copy for your very own.

I'm sure you can scare up most of the ingredients for this salad using some of the references from the Local Food Guide. It's a very summer salad, and a hearty one thanks to the black beans, which also make it a great source of fiber and complex carbs and helps to assimilate some of the natural sugars of the corn. Using roasted corn lends complexity to the taste of the salad, and pairs well with the smoky subtle hint of cumin. The cilantro-lime vinagrette and the baby arugula bring a crisp brightness that lightens the earthy weightiness inherent in black beans. And if the secret incredient here is the Tomatoless Corn and Chili Salsa from Trader Joes which lends a touch of sweetness. The secret is out.


Here are two versions:

#1 The large-scale-gourmet-version: This version will feed at least 10 people so scale up or down accordingly.
4 cans of organic black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups of sweet corn cut from the cob
4 cups of grilled corn cut from the cob (HERE is a website dedicated soley to grilling corn on the cob)
1 jar of Trader Joe's Tomatoless Corn and Chili Salsa
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
2 pounds baby arugula
2 Tbsp. ground cumin

2 limes, juiced
2 Tbsp. unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar
1/3 extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup of honey (or to taste)
sea salt & black pepper to taste

* In a pot combine the black beans, cumin and a few tablespoons of water (just to keep it from burning) and simmer over low heat. The purpose here is to add some flavor to the beans. Alternatively, you can used "seasoned" black beans. Still rinse and drain them, because the beans will retain some of the flavor. Drain any excess liquid and allow to cool to room temperature.
* In another pot combine the sweet corn (or you can use 2 bags of frozen corn) and the roasted corn with the bell pepper and a few tablespoons of water. Simmer/steam on medium-low heat until corn and bell peppers are tender. Drain any excess liquid and allow to cool to room temperature.
* In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette: lime juice, honey, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil.
* Combine beans, corn and Trader Joe's salsa in a large mixing bowl. Stir in vinaigrette and fresh cilantro leaves.
* Arrange baby arugula on a platter. Spoon the bean-and-corn salad over the arugula greens and serve at room temperature.


#2 Go-to-Trader-Joes-for-the -5-Minute-Quick-and-Dirty-version: Pick up these ingredients for a side dish that's ready in minutes!

1 bag frozen Trader Joe's fire-roasted corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 jar of Trader Joe's Tomatoeless Corn & Chili Salsa
1 teaspoon cumin
1 bag of pre-washed arugula

* Combine ingredients 9except arugula) in a medium sized saucepot over medium-low heat and cook until corn is tender. Drain any excess liquid and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl or serving platter.
* Prepare the vinaigrette as outlined above. Pour as much as needed to incorporate into the salad and reserve the remainder for a future use. Stir in a handfull of cilantro leaves. Toss in arugula immediately before serving.

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