For When You Have To Bring A Dish: Black Bean Salad with Corn and Feta
Summer is definitely the season of communal eating. This is my go-to dish for all of those BBQs/Wedding Showers/Get-Togethers/Birthday Parties where you need/want to bring something. It’s basically fool-proof, doesn’t require an oven or grill, and is pretty quick to assemble. The recipe below is for a large batch but you can easily cut it in half for less monstrous parties.
4 ears of corn
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
4 small tomatoes seeded and diced (I used the tomatoes on the vine this time but it’s up to your preference and availability)
5 green onions finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
Another reason I like this recipe is that you don’t have to do much in advance. I usually get everything out on the counter and just start. Chopping everything as you go gives the corn and beans time to cool down and reduces your wait time at the end.
First, remove the kernels from the corn cobs. There are lots of ways to do this but I prefer spreading out a plastic bag from the produce department on top of my cutting board and resting the tapered end of the cob in the open bag while slicing off the kernels. The bag helps them from bouncing everywhere when they hit the cutting board and then you just dump the bag into the skillet.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a high-sided skillet big enough to hold the corn and black beans. I use the one I talked about here. While the butter melts, drain and rinse your black beans. Add the corn to the skillet and stir to coat the kernels evenly. After about a minute, add the beans and stir again. The idea is really just to warm these ingredients up and take away the raw taste. Keep the heat at medium and don’t let them go too long.
Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside. Start chopping your tomatoes (remove the seeds and just chop the flesh), onions and cilantro and add them to your serving bowl. If you have a strong aversion to cilantro, you can substitute flat leaf parsley instead. I always feel like there are too many tomatoes at this point but don’t worry, it will all work out in the end.
Now that your corn and beans have had a chance to cool down, add them to the bowl and stir the whole mixture to combine the ingredients. Squeeze in the juice from half a lime, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This helps all the flavors combine.
After 30 minutes, add your feta, a couple cracks of pepper and stir again. Return to the fridge until you’re ready to serve. When you take it out, taste to see if you need more salt or pepper. I always add the salt at the very end since the feta is already salty and I want to give it a chance to get into the salad.
Like most recipes I’ve shared here, this one is all up to your personal taste and preference. Tasting is important and you should adjust the ingredients as necessary. The only thing to think about is that the flavors really come together in the fridge so don’t season it too much up front. What are your go to recipes for potluck occasions?