Black Bean Salad

June 16, 2009

Black Bean Salad

Quick and Crunchy

This is a crunchy and flavourful salad that’s pretty quick to assemble, especially if you start with canned black beans. Serve it cold or at room temperature. It’s a one-dish dinner that’s happy to be packed up and taken for a bike ride around the seawall.

Serves 4

2 tins black beans, or 1 1/4 cups dried black beans

2 – 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 yellow onions, diced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, optional

1 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups braising greens such as baby kale, chard, and friseé

1 red pepper, diced

2 ears of corn, kernels stripped off

1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 lime, zest and juice

1 perfectly ripe avocado, in four wedges

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, to garnish

a drizzle of organic pumpkin seed oil, to finish, or extra-virgin olive oil

Maldon salt flakes

If you’re using canned black beans, simply open your tins and drain, and throw into a large bowl. Set aside. If you have the time to use dried, bring four cups of salted water to a boil and add the dried beans. Simmer over low heat for about an hour, or until the beans have reached desired tenderness. I like mine ever so slightly al denté, so one hour works for me, but cook it longer if you prefer your beans somewhat softer. Drain beans, turn into large bowl, and set aside. Place a Dutch oven or large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, swirl in the olive oil, and add chopped onions. Cook for several minutes, or until onions are lightly browned and tinged with crispiness. Lower heat a bit, add garlic, chili flakes if you’re using, cumin, and sea salt. Stir and toss for a couple minutes, taking care that the garlic doesn’t brown. Now add the braising greens, a pinch of sea salt, stir, and remove from heat. Let sit in the pot for about three minutes, stirring once or twice – this will wilt the greens while still retaining a little crunch, and then turn out over top of waiting beans. Toss in the diced red pepper, corn kernels, cilantro, lime zest, and juice. Give it a good mix, taste, and adjusting seasoning – add some more salt or lime juice, if you wish – and then divide amongst four large dinner plates. Take your perfectly ripe avocado wedges (fact: large pieces of avocado make people happy) and put one on each salad, sprinkle pumpkin seeds over, drizzle a restrained amount of – quite costly! but very healthy! – dark and sexy pumpkin seed oil, and finish with a few flakes of crispy Maldon salt. Or, pack into containers, hop on your bike, and have your dinner on the beach in English Bay.

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