Corn and Black Bean Salad

To me, fresh corn defines Summer.

 In the 1950s, when I was a youth, my father maintained a large vegetable garden.  While less than half the size of his World War II Victory garden, it still was substantial.  While it contained a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, which my mother faithfully (albeit grudgingly) canned or froze for the Winter months, the corn plot was by far the most important section.  Now this was before the days of our modern hybrid sweet corn.  In those days, the sugars in fresh cob corn turned starchy rather quickly.  My father was constantly searching for the perfect variety that had firm, sweet kernels that did not quickly turn starchy.  He also had strict procedures for the harvesting of corn for the evening meal.

When it was nearing the time to serve the meal, my mother placed a large pot of water on the stove to boil, adding a few tablespoons of sugar to the water.  When the water was near a boil, she would announce that all was ready.  My father would go to the corn patch with my sister and I trailing behind with a pail.  He would carefully select the ears for the evening, and we would race to the back porch, quickly shuck the corn (removing the worms if present), and hand it to my mother through the kitchen window, where she would plop them into the pot. The time from the corn stalk to pot was strictly limited to less than ten minutes. The corn was then cooked for exactly nine minutes and deposited on the serving tray.  And we were by then to be seated at the dining room table, waiting for the blessing.  This process was timed by my father, who would regularly check his watch, and on occasion criticize our performance.

This corn salad is not a family recipe, but I have found it great for a summertime barbecue.  It can be made a few hours ahead of serving and placed in the refrigerator to marinate and cool.  I also like it as a relish on a grilled hotdog.


  • 4 ears of sweet corn

  • 1 14 ounce can black beans, drained.

  • ~ 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered to your preference

  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped.

  • ½ red onion, chopped

  • 1-1½ teaspoons ground cumin (to your taste)

  • ~2 teaspoons Tabasco hot sauce

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • ~2 tablespoons olive oil

  • salt and pepper


Place the corn ears unshucked in microwave and cook on high for ten minutes.  Let cool so that it can be handled. 

Shuck husks from corn.  Strip kernels from corn and place in mixing bowl.  Add other ingredients.  Toss and place in refrigerator to cool (or freezer, if short on time). 

Serves eight or more as a side dish.