Saturday, June 9, 2012

Black Bean Salad with a Side of Orange and Jicima

The summer salad series continues with both alliterations and recipes.  These next two I thought wonderful served together, the spicy heartiness of the black beans complemented by the sweet, brisk refreshment of oranges, jicima, and radishes.  Both of the recipes come from Annie Somerville's Fields of Greens (which, by now, you have probably realized I am obsessed with).  For the bean salad, the changes I've made reflect concessions to cost and convenience, and for the orange salad, changes reflect misreading the recipe, but liking the final result.

Spicy Black Beans with Chilies and Lime
Adapted from Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville

Serves 4-6.

2 19-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed*
Salt and pepper
1/2 medium-size carrot, diced (about 1/4 cup, prepped)
1/2 celery rib, diced (about 1/4 cup, prepped)
1/3 red bell pepper, diced (about 1/4 cup, prepped)
Zest of 2 limes (about 1 1/2 tsp)
3 Tbl fresh lime juice (the juice of the two you zested should be enough)
2 Tbl Champagne vinegar**
1 garlic clove, minced
3 pinches of cayenne
1/4 cup olive oil
1 or 2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and diced
2 heaping Tbl chopped cilantro
1 Tbl chopped mint (optional)

Put the (rinsed, drained) beans into a large bowl.  Bring a small pot of water with 1/2 tsp salt to a boil.  Add the carrot, cook for 30 seconds, then add the celery and cook for another 30 seconds.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and add to the beans.  Add the bell pepper to the beans.

To make the dressing, combine the zest, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper in a jar, and shake to combine (or whisk them together in a bowl).  Add the olive oil, and shake again.  Add the dressing and the jalapenos to the salad (the salad should be spicy, but if you're worried, add half the jalapeno, taste, and add more as desired).

Let the salad marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Add the cilantro and mint before serving.

Serving Suggestions: Cotija (or Queso Fresco, or Mexican cheese) is pretty widely available these days, and pretty delicious sprinkled on top.  Quick pickled onions could be good, and I know the orange-jicima salad is!

*Note: The original recipe calls for 1.5 cups (9oz) of dried black beans, sorted and soaked overnight.  Drain and rinse the beans, put them in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and then cook at a gentle boil 20-25 minutes (until tender but not falling apart).  When the beans are done, proceed with the recipe as written.
**Note: If you can find Champagne vinegar for cheap, that's fine.  Otherwise, just use sherry vinegar.

Orange-Jicima Salad
Adapted from Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville

Serves four to six.

10 oz jicima
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 to 2 Tbl rice wine vinegar
Salt and cayenne pepper
3 navel oranges***
3 to 4 large radishes****
Cilantro sprigs (garnish, optional)

First, if you happen to have a mandoline, your job will be so. much. easier.

Peel the jicima, and slice it thinly (you'll have large, roundish, thin disks of jicima).  Then, slice it lengthwise into 0.5-1cm thick pieces, chopping them in half if they're two long.  Put the jicima in a large bowl with the orange juice, vinegar, 1/8 tsp salt, and a few pinches of cayenne.  Toss to combine.

To prepare the oranges, cut off the top and bottom, and remove the peel.  Cut the orange in half, and cut half-moon slices.  Add to the jicima.  To prepare the radishes, I used the julienne attachment to the mandoline, but you could also cut the radishes into thin slices, then chop each slice into small matchsticks.

Add salt and cayenne to taste (I didn't add any extra).  Garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro.  Serve with the beans and pita.

***Note: feel free to include blood oranges, grapefruit, etc.
****Note: Originally, the radishes were an optional garnish.  But I thought they were delicious mixed in!

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