Monday, July 13, 2015

Peach Salsa with Spiced Black Beans and Corn

The summer I lived in Georgia, the couple I stayed with kept the kitchen fully stocked with fresh, juicy peaches all summer long. These were not your run-of-the-mill grocery store peaches. Rather, I'm pretty sure she bought most of them from local growers and fruit stands. Jann even knew the names of the different varieties, when each variety would come into season, and the unique flavors of each variety. Many evenings that summer, Jann and I would stand side by side at the kitchen sink, peeling and slicing peaches, our hands dripping with juice while we told each other about our day.

Though I liked peaches before then, it was that summer that really solidified my love for peaches--especially juice-running-down-your-chin, just-picked-that day peaches. So when Google showed me recently that there's an annual peach festival in Weatherford, Texas (of all places), I convinced a couple of my peach-loving and/or festival-loving friends to take a trip to Weatherford for some peach love. Food highlights for me included the Caribbean jerk chicken sandwich for lunch, the homemade peach ice cream for dessert, and the bottle of lavender balsamic vinegar I brought home with me.

One of my goals for our trip to the festival was to get some peach salsa. I'd made it once before and really liked it, so I was interested in trying someone else's version. Unfortunately, though, by the time we got there and ate lunch (and ice cream) and got serious about browsing the manymany vendor booths, the jarred peach salsa was sold out everywhere we looked and asked. But no worries! Because I was already planning to buy a bunch of fresh peaches from the fresh produce stand (which we all did), and I still had that trusted peach salsa recipe from before, so I just made my own again tonight.

Rather than do something the same way twice, though, I took the peach salsa from before, and served it over the corn and black beans from these lettuce wraps. The lettuce wraps recipe also included a guacamole which sounded lovely, but I didn't feel like making three different components, so I just cubed an avocado, and that was simple and perfect. The black bean/corn part of the dish has so many warm flavors going on, the peach salsa pretty much tastes like summer, and the avocado added this creaminess that brought all the flavors into harmony.

If you wanted to bulk this up or make it stretch to more servings, you could easily add some cooked quinoa or millet. Originally I had planned to do that, but I decided to keep it simple tonight, and I didn't miss the grain at all.

Peach Salsa with Spiced Black Beans and Corn

Peach salsa adapted from A Couple Cooks and posted previously on my blog hereblack beans and corn adapted from A Couple Cooks.

Yield: About 3 servings. I know that's weird, and I'm sorry. I was planning to do 2 servings but got too excited about peaches once I started cutting into them, so I ended up with 2-3 generous servings of peach salsa and 3-4 servings of the black beans and corn.

Peach Salsa Ingredients
3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/2 medium red onion (or 1/4 large red onion), finely chopped
Just under 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced (more or less to taste)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste

Everything Else
1/4 to 1/2 large red onion
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
Dried chipotle powder, to taste (or chopped, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, to taste)
Black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup water
1 avocado, cut into cubes

For the salsa, combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl. Toss to combine. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion, green pepper, and corn; saute until veggies are slightly browned, about 5 minutes, stirring only very occasionally. Add the black beans, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, chipotle, and water. Give it a good stir, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has cooked down.

To serve, spoon some of the black bean and corn mixture into a bowl. Top with avocado and peach salsa, and give it a good stir. Then add some more peach salsa on top because it's hard to resist adding just a bit more.

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