My Salad Days
This inclination to raw food stems from my childhood - if you have a father who whips up a salad every single day and enjoys creating dressings from some really unique ingredients - you are bound to view salads differently.
My interest in food and cooking started by perusing my mom's cookbooks when I didn't have anything to read. Today I have a collection I am really emotional about (yes, I get emotional about my books!). It's not huge, but I have bought each book (or it has been gifted to me) with a lot of thought behind it.
One such book is 'Twelve Months of Monastery Salads' by Victor D'Avila Latourette, a Benedictine monk. It is a collection of almost 200 salad recipes that the monks prepare in their kitchens throughout the year. How good are the recipes? Well, I e-mailed a couple to my dad and now I have a standing instruction to get this book for him on my next visit!
SPICY BEAN SALAD
(adpated from 'Twelve Months of Monastery Salads)
1 cup black beans*
a handful of corn kernels
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp cumin powder
a pinch of paprika
salt & pepper to taste
finely chopped cilantro
Soak beans overnight and cook till tender but holding their shape. Or rinse and drain if using canned beans. Combine with corn, bell pepper and onion in a large bowl. Add minced garlic and toss well.
Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl until thickened. Pour over salad and mix well. Adjust seasoning and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving for flavors to blend.
Garnish with cilantro and serve. (Eat with your eyes first!).
* In the book this is a Latin American inspired three bean salad with red, black and white beans. I used black beans only because I didn't have the other two. You can also use red kidney beans (rajma) or black eyed peas (chawli) as a substitute. The mustard is not a prominent flavor so it can be omitted. Use a little red chilli powder in place of paprika to make it spicy by Indian standards! This salad is perfect for lunch boxes, picnics and potlucks.
* Trivia of the day - The phrase 'salad days' was first used by Shakespeare in Anthony & Cleopatra -
My salad days,
When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
To say as I said then!