Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is more of a celebration in the United States than it is in Mexico? I always assumed that May 5th was the Mexican equivalent to our July 4th: Independence Day. As I browsed the Google results for “Cinco de Mayo”, several sources revealed that even though May 5th is an important day in Mexican history, September 16th is the much more revered and celebrated day of independence.
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into an annual celebration of Mexican-American heritage. Like all international influences on this great melting pot of a country, the food culture has opened its arms to the south-of-the-border flavors. I will never claim to prepare authentic Mexican dishes (got way too much German in me to accomplish that), but I must say I have loved experimenting with the produce and seasonings of those dishes.
Corn and Black Bean Salsa is one of my favorite recipes for many reasons:
- It is fresh.
- It is healthy.
- It is simple.
- It is portable.
- It is versatile.
- It is customizable.
Let’s dig in!
Corn & Black Bean Salsa
Ten easy steps is all it takes to make this big bowl of goodness. Ready?
Start with a pretty bowl (or an ugly one … no one will care … trust me!).
1. Add one (15 oz) can black beans that have been drained and rinsed well.
2. Add 2 cups of frozen sweet corn, thawed (and drained, if necessary).
3. Add 3-4 cups of diced fresh tomatoes.
4. Add one cup diced onion.
5. Add one cup diced green pepper.
6. Add one-half cup finely diced jalapeno.
7. Add one-quarter cup diced fresh cilantro.
8. Add one teaspoon of salt and one-half teaspoon black pepper.
9. Add the juice of one lime.
Some dicing, some squeezing, some measuring, a little stirring, and a lot of eating. This will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days … if there’s any left by that time.
It’s pretty clear that it’s fresh, healthy, and simple. When I say “portable”, I mean it travels well. I’ve taken this dish to picnics, tailgates, and potlucks. It is “versatile” because it can be used as a dip, a topping for tacos, added to pasta and diced chicken for a salad, or combined with chicken stock, chicken, tomato sauce and more Mexican seasonings for a soup. You can customize this recipe for personal preferences. The ratio of the vegetables is completely up to you. If you want it less spicy, reduce the amount of jalapeno or eliminate it all together. Remove the membranes and seeds from the jalapeno if you just want to reduce the level of the heat. Don’t like fresh cilantro? Leave it out. Or try dried cilantro … it is not as pungent (use about a teaspoon of dried in this recipe). Canned corn can be substituted for frozen and, of course, when sweet corn is in season, USE IT!
Disclaimer: This salsa is healthy. I cannot be held responsible for how many tortilla chips you consume with it. Eat responsibly.
And drink responsibly. After all, I know you are thinking about a margarita right about now.
Happy Cinco de Mayo (and every other day) to you!