Friday, July 12, 2013

Farm Fridays: Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Last week I was very sad to see the bottom of the last jar of salsa that we put up last fall. I absolutely adore our homemade salsa and I've been savoring it all winter long. I was saving that last jar for a rainy day, almost afraid to use it, knowing that tomato season was so far off.

(In case you haven't caught on yet, I'm a bit dramatic about food. Obviously, salsa can be purchased at the grocery store in all seasons - but that's not the salsa I crave. I have a small fear of running out of the food I like best. This same fear carries over to traveling - I rarely leave the house without some snacks, in case . . . all the stores and restaurants are closed? I don't know. Suffice to say, breaking the seal on the last remaining salsa jar was a stressful moment for me. Delicious, but stressful.)

Anyway, even though tomato season is just barely kicking off around here, I realized this week that fresh salsa season has totally begun. I got a huge bunch of cilantro from the farm last week and it got me thinking about salsa making. The black beans in my pantry started calling to me. I had never made my own black bean salsa before, but I've had it a few times and really enjoyed it, so I cracked open an old cookbook and found a recipe. This particular recipe didn't require me to go out and buy anything - I had a giant heirloom tomato (the first of this year's harvest!) and some corn from the farm this week, half a red onion in my crisper drawer, and a jalapeno and some bell pepper strips in the freezer from last fall. (The bell pepper strips are really past their flavor prime, but I hate wasting anything, so I decided to use them - this salsa will only be that much better when fresh peppers are in season!)

Salsa is always simple to make - just toss some stuff in a bowl, stir, and set aside while the flavors get to know one another. This particular salsa took a bit more of my time than usual because it makes a TON - the recipe says seven cups, but I think I used more beans than it called for. I was actually a little concerned as I made it, wondering how we were going to use so much salsa. After I tried some, though, all those thoughts went away. I've actually been eating this salsa all afternoon. I've been hard pressed to keep myself away from it. It's totally delicious, pretty as a picture, and makes an excellent healthy snack. Someone just needs to invite me to a barbecue so I have an excuse to make another giant batch!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Adapted from Southern Living: Secrets of the South's Best Barbecue cookbook. 

3 ears corn
1/3 c lime juice (fresh is preferable, but I used bottled juice for this one because all the limes in my refrigerator were already spoken for)
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
~3 c black beans (I cooked 1 c dried beans and used them all)
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 giant tomato, chopped (about 1-1 1/2 c)
1 c bell pepper, chopped (I used frozen strips of red and green peppers)
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt well, add the corn and cook 3 minutes. Remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oil, salt, cumin and red pepper flakes. Stir in chopped cilantro.

Slice the corn kernels off of their cobs and add to the bowl along with the beans, onion, tomato, peppers, and jalapeño. Stir well to combine, tossing with dressing.

Refrigerate for 4-8 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Enjoy!

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