Saturday, July 7, 2012

Spicy Black Bean, Corn and Peach Salad (and Whole Wheat Flatbread!)

Ah, the peaches are in at McConnell's Family Farm! They truly (truly!) need no embellishment and never disappoint. These are the peaches that convinced me once and for all that it's worth waiting for local fruit to ripen:  I'll never buy another mealy grocery store peach as long as I live!  

While the best way to enjoy these peaches is simply on their own, they will ripen quickly.  We bought a box  about four days ago and a few are showing signs of heading south.  McConnell's corn on the cob is also in, so I decided to put together a kind of southwestern bean salad adding a few peaches to the melange. It's a bit spicy, which Robert likes, but you can play around with the ingredients and turn the heat up or down as you like. (Skip the ground chipotle pepper, for example, or only add half of the jalapeno).

I needed something to go with the salad and tried out Alice Waters's flat bread recipe posted on Carol Stabile's blog, Can't Handle the Heat?  Carol's a friend, colleague and mentor (in the academy and the kitchen).  I used the flatbreads to make a kind of black bean salad fajita (and tinkered with them only minimally--adding a tablespoon of honey; what can I say?).  Read on!
Spicy Black Bean, Corn & Peach Salad
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 15 oz can, drained)
3 ears of corn, cooked and cut from the cob (or about 1 1/2 cups)
1 stalk celery, minced
1 jalapeno pepper,seeded and minced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon honey

2 peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, add the beans, corn, celery, jalapeno pepper and onion and gently toss to mix. Sprinkle the oil, ground chipotle pepper, salt and cayenne pepper over the mixture and gently toss again.
In a small to medium bowl, combine the juices and honey, stirring well to be sure the honey dissolves.  Add the cut, peeled peaches to the juice and honey mixture (the hope is that this will keep the peaches from turning brown too quickly).

Add the peaches/juices/honey mixture to the beans n'at (as we say Pittsburgh) in the large bowl and gently toss.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  You can serve this salad right away or cover and refrigerate for up to four hours.  Serves 8 (easily).  Try them with flatbread!

Alice Waters's Whole Wheat Flatbread
(via Carol Stabile's Can't Stand the Heat? blog)

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey (optional!)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.  Stir in the water, olive oil and honey and knead to form a moist dough.  Cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes.

Heat a cast iron skillet.  Divide dough into 16 balls. (They will seem quite small, but this is a lovely, pliable dough that will roll out to a thin bread.) Roll each ball into a 6 by 3 inch oval. (Mine were more like raggedy circles.)   I lightly oiled the skillet and cooked one flatbread at a time, about two minutes on each side.  Carol notes they're "great with hummus or other bean dips.  Good with peanut butter and jam.  Better still with Nutella."  They're lovely with a bit of honey and cinnamon, too!

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