Cusp-of-Spring Black Bean Chipotle Salsa

The day I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived–we ate our first outdoor meals this weekend. Local eggs scrambled with creme fraiche and scallions, big mugs of coffee and the newspaper in the morning, coconut-water lemonade and a giant bowl of chips with guacamole in the afternoon…every bite made me happy, and every minute of sun on my skin.

Of course, as much as I’m ready for warm weather dining, there isn’t actually much fresh produce yet, so I couldn’t make the homemade tomato salsa I perfected last summer. Instead, I riffed with what we had on hand–a bag of frozen corn, a can of black beans, a frozen canned chipotle pepper and some citrus to add a little sweetness and brightness.

You could pile this substantial salsa on carnitas or a hunk of fish, but we just ate scoops of it balanced on tortilla chips, filling our stomachs as we began the state-by-state India Pale Ale showdown (stay tuned on Serious Eats.) Sure, it was dark outside before we finished, but with enough sweatshirts and enough candles, it felt like summer was just waiting in the wings.

Black Bean Chipotle Salsa

glug of oil
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 to 1 chipotle (from a can), minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1 can black beans, drained
2 red bell peppers
2 blood oranges or cara cara oranges
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime, plus additional to taste
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar

In a cast-iron pan, heat oil over medium heat and add garlic, corn kernels, chipotle and cumin. Cook until corn begins to dry and color. Stir in black beans and remove from heat. Place in a medium bowl. Dice bell peppers and add to bean mixture. Slice peels from oranges and squeeze juice from the peels into the bean mixture, then cut oranges into segments (removing pith and any white parts.) Stir oranges, cilantro, lime juice, and vinegar into the salsa, tasting for seasoning. You may want to add an extra squeeze of lime depending on the size and juiciness of your limes. Serve at room temperature or chill for an hour before serving.

In beans, mexican, salsa

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