Friday, May 30, 2014

Thai Black Bean Salad

by Sheila Connolly

I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, thanks to a dozen or so ancestors who I can prove fought in the Revolutionary War. Since Razing the Dead (the Museum Mystery coming out in FOUR DAYS!) revolves around a Pennsylvania battle from that war, it seems logical to seek inspiration from a cookbook issued by the Massachusetts Daughters a few years ago—one to which I contributed a clutch of my own recipes. While almost all of my 18th-century ancestors came from (and stayed in) Massachusetts, I can point to one who spent that infamous winter at Valley Forge, so I’ll claim a small connection to Pennsylvania.

The recipes in this volume are surprisingly diverse. I have to point out one submitted by a member of my chapter, who also put together the cookbook, from inspiration to proofreading. Her first recipe includes: 1-1/2 gallons red wine, 1 quart gin, 1/2 pint Benedictine, 1/2 gallon Jamaican dark rum, 1 quart brandy, 1-1/2 quarts whiskey, the juice of 18 lemons and the same quantity of limes, and 2-1/2 pounds brown sugar. Oh, and throw in a case of champagne at the end. She says it serves “75 for 2 hours.” Wonder if they’re still standing by the end of two hours? (I have known this woman for a decade, and she is no inebriate, but rather, a sober and responsible person!).

Anyway, even though the temperature in Massachusetts is still dipping into the 40s this week and my heat is still on, I’m thinking summer and barbecues and happy thoughts, so I decided to try this recipe, which is easy to make ahead, colorful, and would go well with anything cooked on the grill.

Thai Black Bean Salad

2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 can (16 oz.) black beans, rinsed
1 small onion, diced
½ cup diced red pepper (I used the little ones just because they’re cute)
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced (fresh or canned)
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 Tblsp grated fresh ginger
2 Tblsp sesame oil
2 Tblsp rice vinegar
Juice of one lime
Coarse salt

In a large bowl, combine the corn, beans, onion, red pepper, jalapeno, garlic and ginger.

In a small bowl, whisk the sesame oil, vinegar and lime juice.

Pour the dressing over the vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt.

Chill until ready to serve (it’s best if it’s made early in the day or even the day before, so the flavors can blend).

Serves 4--generously. (The recipe can easily be multiplied to serve more.) And no, I didn’t stand shivering over the grill outside (it was 45 degrees!), but grilled on the stove. Summer is coming soon, right?

Oh, yes--there's this new book out next week. You can enjoy Nell Pratt and a big-city, hot-shot developer tramping around an old dairy farm in bucolic Chester County, PA--and tripping over a body. 


  1. I can't wait to try your Thai salad. I've been making a very similar salad for years, but lately I've grown tired of it. The sesame oil, ginger & rice vinegar would give it a fantastic flavor. Pinned.

  2. Holy cow, can you imagine drinking all that booze? Sounds mighty tasty, but pretty high-octane!

    The salad sounds delish, too. I know a lot of people aren't fans of cilantro, but do you think that would also be good in the salad? I have tons of it in the garden, and am always looking for different ways to use it.

  3. Karen, I think cilantro would be a great addition! One nice thing about this salad is that it's so pretty and colorful, and a little more green would work. Another plus is that because it sits for a while, the garlic and onion aren't too sharp.

    I'm boggled by the booze too. I always picture DAR ladies with teacups and white gloves, but even that world has moved on.

  4. The seasonings all are Asian, but the main ingredients are pure Western hemisphere - South American natives, all of those veggies! I make a version of this w/o the garlic, sesame oil, ginger, and rice vinegar, but WITH the lime as well as avocado chunks and plenty of cilantro. My "secret" ingredient is freshly-ground coarse coriander seed (which many people do not realize are a result of the cilantro going to seed!). serve with lots of tortilla chips -- yummy!

  5. Serves 75 for 2 hours? ROFL! That's worse than a Long island Iced Tea. Some powerful stuff! Love the salad but you made my day with that booze recipe. I'm still laughing about it!


  6. I love the way people have been tinkering with the recipe--all additions welcome! It's supposed to be easy as well as tasty.

    Krista, I had the same reaction as you did--use how much? You've got to be kidding! (I would love to see one of those parties!)

  7. Sheila, congrats on the new release! I, too, am a DAR, but I haven't officially joined anything. Should I? My ancestors are in the CT records - I got to see their signatures when I lived there - and also participated in the revolution.

    Daryl / Avery