Black Bean and corn salad is a delicious summer recipe, evoking flavours of the American south and Latin America. The sweetcorn combines perfectly with the black beans, both in flavour and in appearance. The final result is quite striking! This is a simple black bean and corn salad, designed to highlight the essence of its main ingredients.
Black bean and corn salad is great served at parties and potlucks. It is both universally popular among all different people, good for all sorts of diets including those gluten free and vegan, and convenient in that it is fine cold and doesn’t need heating. And, well, salads are always popular at potlucks.
I like to fry my sweetcorn briefly to caramelise it. This changes the flavour greatly, and makes the salad very rich and nutty. Serves 4.
3/4 cup of dry black beans and 1 tsp baking soda, or 1 can of precooked black beans
2 cups frozen sweetcorn
3 tbsp cooking oil – sunflower oil is best, olive oil is good too
1 small red bell pepper
Half a red onion
1 and a half tsp freshly ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chili powder, fresh chopped chili, or chili sauce, at your discretion
First, prepare your black beans. (See also: How To Cook Black Beans). You can use a can for convenience, though I do prefer freshly cooked black beans.
To prepare your black beans from scratch, measure out your dry black beans into a large bowl. Cover with plenty of water and your baking soda. Leave 8 hours or more to soak.
When that is ready, pour away the now black soaking water. Place your black beans in a cooking pot, and add fresh water to cover. Bring to the boil, then allow to continue cooking for 15-25 minutes. Try them periodically (don’t burn your tongue!), aiming for that wonderful point where the beans are firm but tender, soft but still with a bite. Turn off the heat and drain.
By the way, keep the cooking liquid to use the next time a recipe calls for meat stock. It has a LOT of nutrients and a rich, deep flavour.
While your black beans are cooking, place your cooking oil in a frying pan. Turn up the heat to max (or just very high if you have one of those cooking hobs which are so powerful the US wouldn’t allow Iran to produce them). After about 30 seconds, add your corn. Cook it at this temperature for about five minutes, stirring constantly.
Once the corn is done it should be browned and have a rich, nutty flavour. Pour your corn into a bowl and allow to cool.
Allow your beans to cool too. While that’s happening, you can prepare your other ingredients:
Chop your bell pepper in 1 1/2 cm squares (1 inch squares). Chop your red onion quite thinly. Grind your pepper and your cumin. Squeeze your lime.
When the beans and corn are cool enough to touch comfortably for an extended time, throw everything together into a bowl and mix. Place in the fridge for half an hour to an hour. When you’re ready – take it out and serve!