Eating corn as a simple side is delicious right from the cob, but my specialty is one-pot meals. Preferably with beans. I have started to feel that a meal isn’t complete if there are no beans. I miss them that much. 😉
I already knew this was going to be the year of the bean, but I have been slow on trying out my heirloom beans. I have a hard time using up an ingredient that will be nearly impossible for me to replenish. But after reorganizing my kitchen into a virtual bean library with rows of Mason jars housing my beans, it became apparent just how many beans I have! Lots! And I should really start to cook with them. It will be ok, even if I love them to bits. It will just give us an excuse to wander back to New York or San Francisco.
Imagine how excited I was to find a salad for both corn and heirloom beans. Martha called for Jacob’s Cattle Beans. I went downstairs to soak them.
Except I couldn’t find Jacob’s Cattle Beans. My beans are organized by use, and the heirloom beans by colour… not alphabetically. I scoured my list of beans I bought from Kalustyan’s and turns out I don’t have Jacob’s Cattle Beans. Drats! I googled a bit and figured Anasazi beans could substitute as they are a sweeter, mealy bean similar to Jacob’s Cattle Beans. Colourfully dappled when dry, they sadly loose their fun colours after cooking. Anasazi beans are quick cooking, and apparently don’t need any pre-soaking (although I did anyways). Pinto beans could easily substitute if you are heirloom-less.
Now that we had our bean selection under control, I got the beans simmering the next afternoon. Each component of the salad was meant to shine, so meanwhile, I toasted the corn kernels in a skillet over the stovetop. Next, I cooked down some cocktail tomatoes with thyme. I tried to cook the tomatoes in a non-stick wok without oil but they stuck anyways. If you add oil it may not be a problem for you, but to capture all those browned bits, I deglazed the pan with some the broth from the cooked beans. I threw in the beans and corn to help meld the flavours. The dressing was simple, with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, chili flakes and salt and it rounded out the salad nicely. Served on top of your leafy green of choice, you have a typical one-pot Janet bean salad.
Skillet-Toasted Corn, Tomato and Anasazi Bean Salad
1 cup dried anasazi beans (or pinto, or appaloosa, or pink bean), soaked overnight and rinsed (or 2 cups canned beans)
1 bay leaf
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn)
1 garlic clove, sliced
12 cocktail tomatoes, quartered (350g)
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
3 tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, or to taste
1/2 tsp salt (consider adding a touch of smoked salt), or to taste
8 Romaine lettuce leaves
1. Place beans with enough water or vegetable broth to cover by 1-2″ of water. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 40 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the broth, and transfer to a bowl.
2. Heat a large, heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and add corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until corn begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until corn is browned and begins to pop, another 3 to 4 minutes. Add to beans.
3. Wipe skillet, return to medium-high heat, and add 1 teaspoon oil. Add tomatoes, in a single layer, and thyme. Cook, turning occasionally, until soft and beginning to char, 6 to 7 minutes.
4. By this time, the tomatoes had stuck to my pan, so I deglazed with a bit of broth. Add the beans and corn to the tomatoes and simmer until broth has nearly evaporated. Remove from heat.
5. Meanwhile, whisk oil, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and salt in a small bowl. Pour over beans, stirring gently. Spoon over lettuce, and serve.