Oh, sure, the calendar says today is the first day of spring, but hah! Have they looked outside? I think not. You would be hard-pressed to find anything resembling a spring color out there…it’s as barren, gray and cold as any winter day, which by the way has been the case for the last 6 months, and I’m done! Bring me some sun! Bring me warmth! Bring me summer! OK, spring would be nice.
I don’t mean to complain, but we’re from California (the Central Coast, mind you), and these Midwest winters can be a bear. They’re interminable, really. But all is forgiven when spring actually begins to ever so slowly peak through the gray and brown, and then summer just bursts on the scene with a lushness that is simply breathtaking.
But that’s not going to happen for several more weeks, and in the interim, I find myself gravitating to cheerful, summer foods like this incredible roasted corn and black bean salsa. I mean, you can put just about any kind of chips and salsa in front me, and I’m immediately cheered (as long as there’s an adult beverage in my hand), but we are definitely partial to this one in particular.
If summer has its own special ingredients, this bowl must contain most of them. Roasted fresh corn, bright cilantro, summer’s sweet tomatoes, all combined with earthy black beans, spicy peppers and a citrus-y vinaigrette, scooped onto a fresh tortilla chip… this has cheered me immensely. I will admit that it doesn’t taste quite as good as it does in the middle of summer out on the porch, shoes kicked off, feet up, margarita in hand. But on a cold, bleak winter day it will do just fine, thank you.
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Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa
For years now, this has been our go-to BBQ side dish. We love to add chopped avocado and roasted, chopped poblanos when we think of it too.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 large or 2 medium fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (I used 2 chipotle in adobo, chopped)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup fresh lime juice (2 limes) salt and pepper to taste
1 ripe avocado, diced (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
On a small sheet pan, combine the olive oil, corn kernels, cumin and garlic. Mix well and roast in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the corn starts to take on some color (I do this in my toaster oven). Let cool.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours to let the flavors combine.