Friday, October 1, 2010

Long Live the King

Another article posted on Local In Season, catch the specific link here.  Slightly belated, but enjoy!

Every year when summer time approaches, there are specific things I really look forward to.  There are of course the longer days, the warm rays of sun, the nightly ice cream cones.  It just wouldn’t be summer without these things.  But, I must tell you, there are few things that get me as excited as what I consider one of the Kings of Summer.  He’s tall, he’s strong, his history lies within the roots of this continent.  He is Sir Sweet Corn.  And not just any sweet corn, but local sweet corn.  Those imposters available year round in the grocery store simply will not do.  When I take my first trip to the local market and find those green treasures piled high on produce stands, I know the epitome of summer’s treats are upon us.

From then on I cannot resist eating straight up roasted corn on the cob every night for dinner for days straight.  Seriously though, it’s a problem.  Each year I become more and more nervous that I will overdose and never be able to eat corn ever again.  The horror!  In light of this though, I try to mix up the menu as much as I can while still incorporating the golden seasonal treat.  This salad thankfully has enough supplemental ingredients – and delicious ones at that - to ensure me that I will still be able to eat dozens upon dozens of ears every year without losing touch with my love for every sweet, crunchy, and summery morsel.

Take some to your next summer potluck.  That is, if there’s enough left after you can’t stop eating it straight from the bowl.

Summer Corn and Black Bean Salad

(serves 6 as a side dish)

6 ears of fresh sweet corn
1 can of black beans, drained
1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼” dice
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced, ribs and seeds removed for less heat if desired
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
¼ teaspoon cumin
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (red wine vinegar would be fine too, I just love the hint of sweetness in the rice vinegar)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

If you are using fresh ears of corn, cut off all the kernels on each ear with a sharp knife.  Preheat a skillet over medium high heat and add some oil to coat the pan.  Sautee all of the corn kernels in the skillet, stirring often, until they are cooked through – I even like to get a bit of char on them for extra flavor.  This recipe is also perfect for leftover ears of corn from an earlier-in-the-week dinner. Simply cut the kernels off of the leftover cooked ears and save them until you make the salad.  

Add the cooled corn kernels to a large bowl.  Add the rest of the prepped ingredients and mix to combine, adding salt to taste.  Enjoy the gifts of the King.

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