Hearty bean-based salads are one of my favorite dishes in the summertime. I grew up eating a corn and black bean version, but these days I'll throw just about any vegetable into a bowl with a can or two of beans and a tangy dressing and call it dinner. A big batch can hold for days in the fridge for a few days, making it perfect for make-ahead potluck dishes and picnic fare. Martin Morales's South American twist in his new cookbook, Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen, is filled with delectable nibbles: bacon and cheese add savory richness, tomatoes bring a taste of summer, and chilies give the final dish background heat.
Why I picked this recipe: Corn and bean salads were a summertime staple in my house growing up.
What worked: This hearty salad is super simple to prepare; it'd make for a fantastic picnic or potluck dish.
What didn't: As was the case yesterday, I thought the salad contained way too much onion. I'd use half a large red onion or perhaps a small one.
Suggested tweaks: If you can't find a rocoto chili, you can substitute a mix of a red bell pepper and red habanero chili. (A rocoto chili is about the size of a small bell pepper.) Queso fresco or feta cheese will work equally well in the salad. You could leave out the bacon if you want to make the salad vegetarian.
Reprinted with permission from Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen: Authentic Recipes for Lomo Saltado, Antichuchos, Tiraditos, Alfajores, and Pisco Cocktails by Martin Morales. Copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
Ensalada Miraflores (Corn, Bean, and Cheese Salad) From 'Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen'
- 3 ears choclo or other corn
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 1/2 ounces (100 g) bacon lardons
- 1 (7 ounce/200 g) can butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large red onion, cut into 3/8 inch (1 cm) dice
- 4 large tomatoes, seeded and cut into 3/8 inch (1 cm) dice
- 1/4 rocoto chili, seeded and very finely chopped
- 7 ounces (200 g) queso fresco or feta cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- A pinch of superfine sugar
- A squeeze of lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over medium heat and cook the choclo until tender. Drain and plunge into iced water to cool down and then cut or break off the kernels from the cob.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the bacon lardons for a few minutes, until they are crisp and brown. Drain on paper towels.
Put the choclo, butter beans, onion, tomatoes, chili, and cheese in a large bowl.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or jug and pour into the bowl of salad. Gently toss everything together, trying not to break up the cheese.
Divide the salad among 4 shallow bowls and sprinkle over the bacon lardons and parsley.