Thursday, January 7, 2010

Delicious Bean Salad

One day, I got a craving for bean salad. I had this idea in my head of how I wanted it to taste, but no idea how to get it to taste like what I was thinking. I went home and gave it a shot. To my absolute surprise, I created the exact dish I was tasting in my head. I was more then delighted, and this salad has become almost a weekly staple in our house. It is great tasting, healthy, incredibly filling, cheap, and easy to make. We also shake it up a bit by using different beans, veggies, or vinegars. The technique I use for making the dressing is exactly the same as I use for making all my vinaigrette salad dressings (Tracy, I will still give you a lesson in your kitchen).

1/2 Green bell pepper
1/2 Red bell pepper
1 Red onion
2 Cloves garlic
1 Can stewed tomatoes (mexican style)
2 Cans black beans
1 Can pinto beans
1 Can kidney beans
1 Can whole kernel corn (or 1.5 cups frozen and thawed)
Salt and Pepper!

1 Clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. Mustard (Grey Poupon or other dijon, not that fake yellow crap)
1 tsp. Sugar or Honey
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/4 c. Red wine vinegar (or balsamic works great too!)
1/2 c. Olive oil (I prefer extra virgin)

Open all cans of beans and corn. Dump into a colander, rinse and drain. To make the dressing, combine the following in a medium sized bowl: finely chopped garlic clove, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and vinegar. Mix well with a whisk. Ideally if you have a Pyrex measuring cup with a pour spout for your olive oil, that works best. Keep whisking the vinegar mixture and SLOWLY stream in the olive oil. As the oil emulsifies with the vinegar (thanks to the mustard) the mixture will become thicker. Your arm will get tired before you finish streaming in the olive oil. Power through it. Once all the oil is incorporated, you should have a nice looking salad dressing with no oil/vinegar separation. Taste the dressing and add a little more olive oil if the vinegar is too strong, or a little more salt if the flavors don't pop.

Chop the peppers, onion, and garlic into small pieces. Add the chopped veggies to the dressing along with the can of stewed tomatoes, and mix well. In a large bowl, place the drained beans and corn. Add the dressing/veggie mixture and stir well. You will need to add what seems like a ridiculous amount of salt to make the flavors really come out. Beans absorb A LOT of salt. Mix well after each addition of salt, and taste. I wouldn't be surprised if I added well over 1 teaspoon at this stage. If you over do it, you can always add another can of beans.

This dish gets better as it sits in the fridge. This recipe yields a lot because I love having it for at least 2 days in my fridge. I recommend refrigerating for at least an hour before serving, stirring frequently. This makes an excellent dish to bring to a party or BBQ.

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