Corn and black bean salad with chipotle dressing

Fresh sweet corn makes a true summertime meal. This no-wilt salad is an ideal make-ahead dish for hot weather gatherings.

Ingredients

  • 5 ears corn (4-5 cups kernels)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large avocado, diced (add just before serving)
  • Optional: chopped cilantro or scallions

Dressing ingredients

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (may need more depending on your salt and the salt content of your beans)
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 T red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 T sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo

Preparation

  1. Microwave corn in its husk until lightly cooked: in my high-powered microwave I can cook 1 ear in 90 seconds or 3 ears in 3 minutes (you can always put them back in for more time). Peek to see if kernels are hot and slightly translucent/pearly. Let cool before husking so you don’t get burned by steam.
  2. Put diced onions in a small bowl and add cold water to cover.
  3. Peel husks off corn and break off lower stem. With a sharp knife, carefully cut kernels off the cob.
  4. Add corn kernels to a large bowl, along with black beans (rinsed and drained), diced bell pepper, halved grape tomatoes and scallions (if using). Drain water from onions and add them to the bowl.
  5. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the vegetables and drizzle over olive oil, vinegar and adobo sauce from the canned chipotle peppers. Mix well and adjust seasonings to taste.
  6. Before serving, add diced avocado (and cilantro, if using) and mix gently into salad.

Serves 8-10.

Notes

  • Look for nice fat ears of corn and peel a bit of husk back to see that the kernels are well formed and tightly packed – small ears often have underdeveloped kernels that lack flavor and sweetness.
  • Feel free to use leftover corn, or steam/boil the corn on the stovetop, grill it etc.
  • Technically you don’t have to cook the corn for the salad – fresh sweet corn is crunchy and sweet raw too. Raw corn is harder to shuck and to cut – the kernels pop off and fly everywhere – and the taste is starchier and not as fully sweet as cooked. Fully cooked corn is sweet, but softer and stickier. Lightly cooked corn has the crunch of raw and the sweetness of cooked, and it shucks and cuts easily.
  • You can definitely make this salad with high-quality frozen corn as well. Use the corn straight from the bag (cooking will only make it watery), toss with other vegetables and dressing, and you’ll be good to go. The kernels defrost quickly and are ready to eat in minutes.
  • Feta or cojita cheese would be great instead of the avocado (or in addition to)
  • If you don’t have or can’t find chipotle peppers in adobo (usually available in the Mexican section of the supermarket), the dressing will also work without the added smokiness and heat of chipotle. Alternatively, you could add some dried chipotle chile powder, or smoked paprika and a bit of cayenne pepper. Or you could add oregano and cumin for additional flavor. But the salad is also perfectly great with the simple vinaigrette.
  • How to save the rest of your chipotles in adobo for later use – great to use in chili, tacos, soups, dips, sauces, etc.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.