At the farmer's market in Baltimore, this last Sunday, we finally hit the bean stand at the right time to get a bunch of fresh beans without having to wait in line for an hour. Usually, the line for the bean stand is the longest one - longer even than the one for the freshly made doughnuts or than the line of semi conscious drones shuffling toward the coffee stand.
We didn't waste the opportunity. I would have liked to pick up some lima beans, but the Redhead finds them slightly less appealing than whale snot, so we ended up with a pound of butter beans that I made a too-sweet baked bean casserole out of and four pounds of delicious, fresh black beans.
I don't know about you, but if I'd never seen black beans fresh before. I've used them from cans and from packs of dried beans, but to see them as they come from the field was something special. Of course, they tasted NOTHING like I was used to - fresher, crisper, a little less flavorful, and a bit... uncooked.
So I hit the web and the books and found practically nothing about how to use fresh black beans. No one's seen these things! We're so far removed from the production process that people only ever reference dried or canned beans.
Well, here's you recipe for a simple fresh black bean salad. I kept the ingredients to a minimum (ha! - No really). You could add diced mango or papaya or tomato or avocado to this salad to give it a slightly fresher feel, but as it sits, this is a nice way to use black beans of any sort and to make a big mess of them with whole grains, vegetables, and a little fat that you can take as lunch for a week.
Black Bean, Quinoa, and Peppers salad
2 pounds black beans
2 dried pasilla peppers, seeds removed (can sub fresh jalapenos, if you prefer, jsut remove the seeds and cut into big pieces easy to retrieve)
1 pound corn kernels
3 roasted poblano peppers, seeds and skin removed
3 roasted red peppers, seeds and skin removed
3 small yellow onions or 2 large ones
1 cup cotija cheese (or other hard cheese, grated, or crumbled salty softer cheese like feta)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup quinoa
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
Wash and drain the beans and put them in a saucepan. Cut up the pasilla pepper (or jalapenos, if using them) and add to the pot. Make the pieces large so you can retrieve them later.
Cover the beans with water by 1" in a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, but not mushy, maybe 15-20 minutes. Drain and remove the peppers from the beans.
Dice the poblano, red peppers and onions all to about 1/2 inch pieces. Rinse the onion in a strainer under cold water to remove some of the sulfurous bite.
In a dry skillet, roast the corn until it browns over high heat, stirring and tossing frequently, but don't burn it. Take the corn out when you have some nice brown spots on most kernels.
Mince the garlic and put it in the skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil for about two minutes over high heat - just enough to soften it up, not enough to burn it or caramelize.
In a small pot, combine one cup of quinoa with a cup and a half of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until all the water is absorbed - maybe 12 minutes.
Mix the corn, peppers, onions, quinoa, garlic, and beans together and toss well. Add the olive oil, cheese, lime juice, cumin, and cliantro. Salt and pepper to taste. Put in a refrigerator to cool for at least an hour before serving.
If you'd like, add diced avocado, tomato, mango, or papaya as mentioned earlier.