Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spicy Corn & Black Bean Salad

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, the first picnic weekend of summer. In addition to firing up the grill, many a cook will be serving mounds of potato salad, macaroni salad, and pasta salad. I've had this recipe for many years and while I vaguely remember copying it from a magazine I must confess that I don't remember which magazine. I regret, therefore, that I can't give credit where credit is due.

This salad is a nice alternative to all the other standard picnic salads though I generally consider the crowd before adding the jalapenos. I love it with the full amount of peppers but find that many folks just can't tolerate that much heat. However, this salad, while still good without, really benefits from some amount of spiciness. A few sprinkles of red pepper flakes work as a stand-in for the jalapenos though the salad needs some marinating time to let the flavors fully develop. I also find that for some reason, the colder this salad is, the better. Also, the fresh cilantro, as opposed to "bought-in-a-jar" cilantro, makes a world of difference. Finally, you can mix the first ingredients the night before, as well as the dressing, and put it all together last minute. If you do this, put the peppers in the dressing instead of the salad. Enjoy!

Spicy Corn & Black Bean Salad

2 11 oz cans whole kernel sweet corn
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup quartered and thinly sliced cucumbers
2 tablespoon jalapenos, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or white cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon grated orange peel (the dried stuff in a jar works OK too)
1 to 2 teaspoons cumin

In 2-quart mixing bowl, combine first six ingredients and stir well.

Combine oil, vinegar, orange juice, and garlic in a jar with a lid and shake well. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until ready to serve.

Just before serving, drain salad, Add cilantro, orange peel, and cumin.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts. Can be refrigerated for several days.

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