SUMMER’S BOUNTY AND OTHER FLEETING JOYS
For me, corn on the cob has always been one of the hallmarks of summer. I grew up in New Jersey, and overflowing piles of pale green husks would debut at farm stands in August and continue into September, serving as both a reward of the season and a sign of its end.
Now September is almost gone, but I’m not ready to say goodbye to fresh corn, or summer’s bounties, just yet. This year I intend to keep the season going for as long as I can.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fall. Especially in New York City, where I now live. The crispness of the air, that first scent from someone’s fireplace wafting past me as I walk down the street, the vibrant colors of the trees in the parks and across the Hudson along the Palisades. I even like pumpkins. Fall is my favorite season. But that doesn’t make it any easier to leave summer behind. Not this year.
Cold weather brings us inside, and in this time of Corona, especially for folks like me who live alone, indoor living = social isolation. I know it’s coming, but I’m doing everything I can to stave it off.
I’m keeping summer alive by living outdoors and meeting friends as much as possible. And by keeping fresh seasonal produce like corn in the spotlight when I cook. Corn on the cob is great steamed and fantastic on the grill (if you’re lucky enough to have access to one-not always easy for us apartment dwellers.) But I’ve been stripping the kernels for recipes like corn risotto and pasta as well. I wanted some other options for corn, and this recipe from “Raising the Salad Bar” by Catherine Walthers for Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Salad with Chile-Lime Dressing fit the bill. Scroll down for the recipe.
It’s an easy-to-make, easy-to-serve recipe. I cut the amount of beans by half to emphasize the other fresh ingredients and was glad I did. It works as a side dish and can serve as a topping for grilled meat or fish (I tried it on chicken). It’s also a tasty dip for chips, a variation on Cowboy Caviar. It even works well scrambled into eggs if you leave off the dressing. I’m guessing you could also serve it with a fried egg on top (don’t they say that about just about anything?).
All too soon we’ll be hunkered down in our pandemic pods, consoling ourselves with winter comforts like roasts, soups, stews, and casseroles. Time enough for that. Let’s celebrate summer’s bounty before it’s gone. See you at the farm stand.
BLACK BEAN, CORN AND RED PEPPER SALAD WITH CHILE-LIME DRESSING
1 1/4 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight, or 2 cans (15 –ounces each) black beans
Kernels from 2 ears fresh corn (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, roasted or raw, diced
3 scallion greens, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
Pinch of cayenne or ground chipotle pepper
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1. In a large saucepan, cover the soaked, drained beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until beans are cooked through but still whole, about 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and let cool. If using canned beans, drain and rinse well. Steam the corn kernels for 3 minutes; set aside to cool.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, corn, red pepper, scallions and red onion.
3. To make the dressing, in a separate bowl, whisk the spices, lime juice, oil and salt. Add to salad and mix well. Just before serving, add the cilantro.
From “Raising the Salad Bar” by Catherine Walthers, Lake Isle Press, 2007
Originally published at https://www.lakeislepress.com on September 23, 2020.