Roasted Corn, Chayote and Black Bean Salad

Oh ho ho!  We’re on day TWO (2) of Mexican madness.  I’m so excited.  This is one of my all-time favorites from the delightful arena of Summertime Salads and Sides.  This salad reaches out to gather corners and bring together what would otherwise be stark contrasts.  It is hearty, yet light.  It is fresh but fulfilling and somehow comforting.  It is zesty but not overbearing.  I’m telling you, this salad has it all.  Scout’s honour.

More importantly, I once lived with a girl who was a very fussy eater and had no interest in leftovers But….she ate this salad for or with her lunch, three days in a row.  Packed full of vitamins, fiber and nutrients, it makes a great addition to the barbecue table

Roasted Corn, Chayote and Black Bean Salad

Serves:  6 – 8 as a side

  • 4 cobs fresh corn
  • 1 chayote *
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 3 small jalapeno peppers **
  • 3 green onion
  • 3 limes
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • small handful cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
    

* If you cannot find chayote at your grocery store or market, you can substitute 1/2 of an English cucumber and 1/2 of a green apple like Granny Smith.  No jokes.

** If you like it spicier, please feel free to use 3 large jalapenos.  If you’re not quite as bold, 2 will probably do you just fine.

Do you like to roast your corn in the oven or the grill?  I’m more of a stove gal, since Mike is the consummate barbecuer in our household and he was otherwise occupied.  If you’re doing them on the BBQ, leave the cobs tucked safely in their husks and throw them on the grill which is at about medium or low heat.  Sure, you could be a cowboy and throw them on when it’s hot to get nice grill marks on the top, but when you roast the corn over lower heat for a longer period of time, that’s when you really develop that rich sweetness and depth of flavour – that’s when the corn is REALLY at it’s best.  

If you’re doing it in the oven, like I am, husk and clean the cobs of corn. 

    

Preheat the oven to 400, and wrap the corn tightly in tin foil, fully covered.  Don’t be alarmed by the fact that there are 5 ears in my foil instead of the 4 that you need for the recipe – one of them was destined for another dish but sadly didn’t make it that far.  Roast the corn for about 45 minutes, flipping the foil packet over halfway through.

    
When the corn comes out of the oven it will be tender and oh-so-sweet, but we don’t really have those charred bits that give roasted corn that je ne sais quoi.    
    
Throw them under the broiler for about 5 minutes per side until you get some nice caramelized bits and pieces.  Let this cool as you prepare the rest.    
    
In a bowl, whisk together the juice of 3 limes with your tablespoon of honey and oil.  Add in the cumin powder and give it another good stir.    
    
Drain and rinse your can of black beans and toss these into the dressing.    
    
When the corn has cooled enough to touch, shave the kernels off of the cobs.  For some reason I always find this part very satisfying, and then I worry about the queer little things that motivate me.    
    
If you have never played with a chayote before, this is what they look like on the inside.  Chayote is deliciously crisp, juicy, and almost squash like but with a taste reminiscent of cucumber and green apple (hence the substitution).      
    
Chop it up into a 1/4 inch dice, and into the bowl it goes.
    
The peppers get a 1/4 inch dice before heading into the bowl. 
    

Seed and devein the jalapenos before mincing them as finely as you can.  Slice the green onions thinly and both go into the bowl.

    

Mmm…fresh cilantro!  I love Mexican and Thai food, so cilantro is usually part of my repertoire.  If you aren’t a fan of the herb, as many people are not, try using 1/2 parsley and 1/2 basil.

    

Chop this up finely and into the bowl.  We’re almost done!

    

Use your hands to combine this well, making sure that all that dressing on the bottom comes right up top.  Toss, toss, dig, scoop, toss – don’t be shy.  Toss once more, and then serve!

    

Look at the rainbow of colors, textures and flavors.  This salad is high in fiber, low in fat, and you know that eating it is CERTAINLY doing you NO HARM.  

    

If you’re eating this as an entree salad with some BBQ chicken, I suggest pairing with a dry but buttery oaked Chardonnay.  If it’s part of your Mexican fiesta, I stand strong for the cerveza or margarita.

Plus, this is awesome on the side of Flank Steak Fajitas.  We also served Amped Up Re-fried Beans and Discount Salsa Del Sol on the side, with plenty of tortilla chips.