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Spicy Grilled Corn Salad with Black Beans and Queso Fresco


Serves six to eight as a side.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 106

Queso fresco, a mild white cheese popular in Latin American cuisines, has a feta-like texture and flavor that pairs well with the starchy corn and beans in this recipe.

  • 3 ears fresh corn, husked
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into disks about 1/3 inch thick
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small canned chipotle, seeded and minced, plus 1 Tbs. adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
  • 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • One 15-1/2-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 oz. queso fresco or feta, crumbled (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano

Prepare a medium charcoal or gas grill fire. Put the corn, onion, and pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet and brush with 2 Tbs. of the oil. Season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Grill the corn and onion, flipping occasionally, until beginning to brown (the onions should still be a little crunchy), 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly. Grill the pepper until charred on all sides, about 12 minutes. Put the pepper in a bowl, cover, and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 6 Tbs. oil, the chipotle and the adobo sauce, vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Coarsely chop the onion and put it in a large bowl. Cut the corn from the cobs and add to the bowl. Skin, seed, and coarsely chop the pepper; add to the bowl, along with the beans, cheese, cilantro, and oregano.

Rewhisk the dressing, add it to the corn mixture, and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The salad may be made up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate and return to room temperature, adding the fresh herbs just before serving.)

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 240, Fat (kcal): 16, Fat Calories (g): 140, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Protein (g): 7, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10, Carbohydrates (mg): 20, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1.5, Sodium (g): 420, Cholesterol (g): 5, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Love the components of this dish and that it can be made ahead. Made it for guests the night before, using the smallest pepper in the can (seeded) and the TBSP of sauce. It was almost unbearably hot! Friends insisted they liked it, but I think they were just being nice. I would cut the adobo sauce in half, at least, and use less pepper. Taste first!

Made this exactly as written using Feta cheese. My guests said it was the best salad they had ever had and asked for the recipe. Will definitely make it again.

Recipe is perfect as written. Just the right amount of heat but you can easily adjust to your taste. This tasted even better the second day. Great for summer when corn is fresh!

Truly Delicious! I didn't have the fresh herbs so I simply used dried oregano and it was still good. I also added one grilled zucchini which I cut in spears, roasted, and then sliced into small triangles. Great with or without the cheese.

Spicy is an understatement. If you don't want to have to call the fire dept on your mouth then i think one chipotle pepper is enough. I agree, the salad is delicious but the spice completely over powers everything. Phew!

Great recipe! Fixed it exactly as the recipe stated using feta cheese. We loved it; I will definately be making it again. I wouldn't change anything.

Grilling the vegetables adds such a marvelous taste. I went a little heavy on the queso proving that too much is not always a good thing. In fact, I loved the flavor without the cheese and would most likely eliminate it the next time.

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