Friday, July 29, 2011

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

I think I selectively forget how delicious black beans and corn can be, as corn is technically a carb and not the healthy vegetable we all wish it to be.
The side dish is really the star of this meal, so forgive me if I glaze over the chicken a bit.

Well, I guess I should tell you something.
I took three (rather small) chicken breasts and seasoned them with a bit of ground cumin, chili powder, salt, and a very small dusting of ground cinnamon. 
Sauté in olive oil until opaque in the middle and remove. Optional spritz of fresh lime juice once off the heat.
Toss in some diced shallot and garlic, deglaze the pan with some chicken stock, increase the heat to reduce and form a quick pan gravy.
Some of the seasoning from the chicken should be left in the pan to flavor the gravy, so just a little salt should round it out.
Spoon a little over each breast and the chicken is done.
Now for the good stuff.

Now I know a proper cook would use dried beans and soak them and then cook them and season them accordingly, but frankly, there's a reason there's a market for canned beans.
We're in a rush!
Also, it's summer in New York and we've had almost a solid week above 90º and no one wants to be cooking anything for more than five minutes.
As it is summer while I am typing this, you can find lovely fresh corn everywhere.
However, should you be making this in the dead of winter and the bag of frozen corn you found on the door has serious freezer burn, fear not. There's a way to resuscitate your desiccated corn.
Simply place it in a hot pan with a pat of melted butter and a splash or two of water, season with a pinch of salt, and bring the whole mess up to a simmer. Allow the corn to cook in the buttery liquid until it has largely been absorbed, 2-3 minutes, and you should have sweet and plump kernels once more.

For THIS dish tho, I used half a medium shallot, diced and lightly cooked in a bit of olive oil.
Next I threw in the corn and a pat of butter.
My SUPER cheat for this recipe, and I feel no shame in it, is that I use Goya black bean soup instead of regular black beans. I just strain (and reserve) the soup liquids and throw the already cooked and seasoned black beans into my dish, and I'm DONE!
Well, a few tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, taste for salt, and then I'm done.
And it is delicious!
Sweet and savory and bright and perfectly balanced.
This by itself would make a great picnic side, or even a vegetarian lunch by itself, as it works just fine at room temperature.

The Hubs greatly approved of this meal as corn is one of his favorite foods, but I don't serve it that often as it is largely devoid of nutrition, so he gobbled this down in no time.
If you want to be a bit healthier, go 2-1 beans to corn for more protein and fiber. I went about 1-1 because that's just how much I had on hand.
Also, the leftovers when it hits 96º tomorrow will be delicious and completely effortless!

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