My friend Leo made this great spicy black bean salad recipe for us and kindly shared his recipe. It was the hit of our Fourth of July barbecue and got scooped up before Dan or I could try it, but people raved about it so much, so of course we had to make it soon. I halved this recipe, which was enough for the four of us, but next time I would make the original quantity because it was that good.
Leo got the recipe from the cookbook "Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Green Restaurant", by Annie Somerville
(Bantam Books, 1993), and his notes are included in the recipe below. Enjoy!
Spicy Black beans with Chiles and Lime
Author's notes: Mint leaves, cilantro, and fresh lime give black beans a refreshing lift. We often crumble queso fresco (a Mexican cheese) over the beans and serve them with Jicama-Orange Salad, Pickled Red Onions, and sliced avocado.
Leo's notes: I usually don't bother with the carrot and celery part of this and I only do the cilantro part if I feel like plucking and chopping the cilantro leaves.
1 1/2 cups dried black beans, about 9 ounces, sorted and soaked overnight
(Leo's note: I use two 28-ounce cans of black beans instead...Just
be sure to rinse them thoroughly)
Salt and pepper
1/2 medium-sized carrot, diced, about 1/4 cup
1/2 celery rib, diced, about 1/4 cup
Zest of 2 limes, minced, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar (Rachel's note: I used rice vinegar)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 pinches of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup light olive oil (Leo's note: You can probably use less)
1 or 2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and diced (Rachel's note: I used red canned jalapenos)
2 heaped tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (Leo's note: I skipped this)
1. If you use the dried beans, drain and rinse the beans and place them in a large saucepan. Cover generously with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a gentle boil for 20-25 minutes, until the beans are tender yet still hold their shape. Taste the beans to be sure they're cooked before draining.
2. While the beans are cooking, bring a small pot of water to boil with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drop the carrot into the water and cook for 1 minute, adding the celery for the last 30 seconds. Drain
immediately and rinse under cold water. Make the dressing by combining the lime zest and juice, vinegar, garlic, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Gradually, whisk in the oil.
3. When the beans are tender, drain and toss immediately with the dressing and the jalapenos. If the chiles are very hot, add half the amount to the salad, then add more to taste; the salad should be spicy. Marinate for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the cilantro and mint before serving.