You may already know that I’m a huge fan of salads. But I’m not talking about wimpy salads with chopped greens, a smattering of grated carrot, a couple of tomato wedges and a bit of bland dressing on top.
When I say I love salads, I mean huge salads that spill out of their plates. I like loud, brash, badass salad parties with beans and peppers and every other vegetable I can find and homemade dressing all trying (though not trying too hard) to keep the party indoors but inevitably spilling out onto the lawn, at which point the police gets called and everyone’s got some serious explaining to do.
I like my salads THAT good.
So, when I want to eat a salad that could get the police called on it for making too much of a scene, this is the first one that comes to mind. I started making it last year as a way of using up the humongous avocados that fall from the tree in the yard. It won’t use up an entire bowling-ball-sized avocado (the kind I’m so lucky to get!), but it’s a pretty snazzy way of using up more normally-sized, run-of-the-mill avocados (like Hass and such) that you can get in supermarkets in North America and elsewhere.
The whole thing is filling and cheap and, apart from the avocado and cilantro, uses ingredients that are easy to find or easy to keep around the house. You do, however, need a halfway decent zester–that one is non-negotiable. Just watch your manicure.
You can also add green peppers and jicama to this. I’d add the jicama to the mix of black beans and corn, and I’d top the finished plated salad with the green pepper, but you can do whatever your hungry little heart desires.
As usual, quantities are completely flexible and negotiable; just use what you have and what you think tastes good. This makes enough salad for me and the man to eat twice as a big side for dinner (with a soup or something like that) or for me to eat twice as a main-dish lunch.
Black Bean, Corn, and Avocado Salad
Invite these guys to the party:
- 1 ripe avocado (2 if they’re tiny)
- 1 can corn, drained and well-rinsed
- 1 can black beans, drained and well-rinsed
- 1-2 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped (I use culantro or shadon beni, cilantro’s stinkier and more potent cousin, because that’s what I find here in Trinidad)
- Zest of half a large lime (or zest of a whole small lime)
- Juice of 2-3 limes
- Small glug (1-2 tablespoons, just eyeball it) of olive oil
- Couple of scallions, chopped
- Lettuce (as much as you want to cover your bowl)
- Tomato (optional, but I like it here)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Then, tell them to please mind the neighbors while they party and keep the kegstands inside, please:
- Mix the oil, lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper, and cilantro together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add corn and black beans, and mix well. This can chill in the fridge until you’re ready to eat (it gets better as it sits, so it’s worth making it ahead of time if you can).
- When you’re good and hungry, plate up your lettuce, top with as much of this mix as you want, sprinkle with scallions, and then top with cubes of avocado (and the optional tomato, if you’re using it).
- Eat and try to keep your enthusiasm at an acceptable decibel level.