Sunday, September 25, 2011

Black Bean and Summer Corn Salsa

This recipe is one of my favorites and while you can make it any time of year with canned corn and beans, it's best with fresh summer corn. My local farmers market still has a great selection of corn, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and garlic. The only other ingredients are black beans, salt, pepper, and lime juice. I also used some pablanos and chives from my garden to spice things up, but they're not necessary.
Black Bean and Corn Salsa is Delicious and Healthy!
First, I grilled the corn. I removed the outer layer of husk then soaked the corn with the rest of the husk in tact in some water for about 10 minutes. Then I threw them on the grill until the outer layer of husk was crispy and brown, but not charred to a crisp. You don't need to grill the corn, though. You could husk it and boil it until tender. We just happened to be grilling other veggies for dinner that night and the grill adds some extra flavor.
You Can Grill the Corn for Extra Flavor, or Boil it. Canned Corn Works, too.
Once the corn was cool enough to handle, I husked it and cut the kernels off the cob. Then I added the juice of 1-2 limes (depends on how juicy they are), a minced clove of garlic, and a few tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro (tip: if you're not going to use the whole bunch of cilantro, you can freeze the whole bunch or chop it and freeze it so you can enjoy the taste of farm-fresh cilantro in the middle of the winter).
These Ingredients are Made for Each Other!
Then I strained and rinsed a can of black beans and added them to the bowl with the corn along with a finely chopped pablano pepper (any green pepper will work). If you like it spicy, add a jalapeno (or more if you like it really spicy. Remember that the seeds add even more heat!).  Season with a little kosher salt. If you like, you can also add some finely chopped red onion, scallions, and/or chives. It all depends on what you have on hand and on what you like.

It's so simple and there are lots of small ways to vary this recipe. Serve it with some blue corn or multigrain tortilla chips or eat it with a spoon if you're so inclined. You could even heat it up and toss it with some brown rice or quinoa for a complete meal.


Given my mission to get as close to my food sources as possible, I'm going to start holding myself publicly accountable. Here's where these ingredients came from:

Corn: Nicewicz Family Farm in Bolton, MA is a vendor at the Union Square Farmers Market specializing in corn and fruit. They lost two fields of corn this summer to Hurricane Irene, but still have fresh-picked corn available for sale at the Union Square Farmers Market for .60/ear. Although they're not organic (I'm discovering it's hard to find organic corn locally), they use integrated pest management and their corn is delicious. They also sell yummy peaches, nectarines, pears, apples, etc. 
Beans: I try to use dried beans, but didn't prep this time, so I resorted to a can of organic beans from Whole Foods 365 brand. Exact source unknown.
Cilantro and Garlic: Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA is my favorite vendor at the Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville. They're organic, know how to merchandise and price their produce, sample their fresh veggies at the market, and know me by name. Their garlic is a bit pricey and can be hard to peel, but the cloves are huge and taste so much better than generic grocery store garlic.
Pablanos and Chives: My garden (grown in containers!)
Limes: I try to buy organic limes from California, but sometimes have to compromise and either go with pesticides or food miles from Mexico or Chile. Not sure about these. 

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