Black Bean Summer Salad

This is one from Penzey's. It can be made ahead and travels well.
  • 12 oz bag of dry black beans
  • 1 smoked ham shank
  • 4 Turkish bay leaves
  • 3 ears fully cooked sweet corn
  • 1 - 2 perfectly ripe avocados
Dressing
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup corn oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

Rinse and pick over the beans, place in a large pot with 1/2 gallon of water and the ham shank. Add the bay leaves. Bring the water to a boil and skim off any foam that rises. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the beans for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from heat, rinse the beans lightly, and set aside. Remove the meat from the bone and chop into bite sized pieces.

Slice the kernels from the corn cobs and place together with beans in a large bowl.

For the dressing, place all the dry spices in a bowl and cover with the water. Let them sit rehydrating for about five minutes. Add the minced onion to the spice paste, cover with the oil, lime juice and red wine vinegar. Whisk vigorously. You can add an extra 1/2 tsp of cayenne to liven up the taste if you like. Add the chopped ham shank meat to the bean and corn mixture and add the dressing, tossing to make sure it's all nicely coated. Peel and mince the avocado and add to the salad mixture, toss well, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Taste just before serving and adjust salt if necessary.

  • Yields: 12 - 16 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes including cooking time
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