Perhaps the best compliment this salad ever received was from one of my readers, who confessed to me, "I'm having an affair with this salad . . . please don't tell anyone." Another reader told me that she made this salad for a party, and later found one of her guests in her study, printing out copies of the recipe to hand out. It's just one of those crowd-pleasing, make-ahead recipes that everyone loves. Whether I serve it as a salad with grilled chicken or as a dip with tortilla chips (highly recommend!), the bowl is always empty and the plates are always full.

Serves 6

For the Salad
  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • One 15.5-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus a bit more for garnish
  • 1 avocado

    For the Dressing
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, from 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 small chipotle chiles in adobo sauce from a can


    To make the salad: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn, cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the pot and let cool.

    Meanwhile, place the chopped red onion in a small bowl and cover with water. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then drain completely in a sieve and set aside.

    One at a time, holding the cooled corn upright in a large bowl, cut the kernels off the cobs in strips.

    Add the beans, onion, bell pepper and cilantro to the corn.

    To make the dressing: In a blender or mini food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine all of the ingredients and process until smooth.

    Pour the dressing over the bean and corn mixture and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.

    Right before serving, cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Using a butter knife, cut a grid in each half. Holding each avocado half over the salad, use a spoon to scoop out the diced flesh. Toss the salad gently, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary (I usually add a squeeze of fresh lime to freshen it up). Garnish with a bit of fresh chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve cold.

    Make Ahead
    This salad is best made a day ahead of time, but wait to add the avocado until right before serving.

    Heads Up
    Allow at least 1 hour for this salad to chill in the refrigerator.

    Sourcing Savvy
    Canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are small dried and smoked peppers (usually red jalapeños) that come in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce. You can find them in the Latin section of most supermarkets. Once you open a can, you can transfer any remaining chiles to a plastic or glass container and store in the refrigerator for up to a month, or freeze in a sealable plastic bag for up to 6 months.

    Pro Tips
    When boiling corn on the cob, be sure to add enough salt that the water tastes like the sea. Try adding a few tablespoons of sugar to the water as well—you'll be amazed by how much it enhances the corn's sweetness. Or, if you don't want to steam up the kitchen, you can roast the corn. To remove the sharp taste from raw onions, soak them in cold water for about 10 minutes, then drain.

    Reprinted from Once Upon a Chef by Jennifer Segal with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018

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