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Smells Like Bean Spirit

black bean salad turkey feta baby spinach
“I’m worse at what I do best and for this gift I feel blessed”

Inspired by Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nevermind 
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I know I’m supposed to marvel at the genius of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, but I consider Screaming Trees the best band from the Seattle Grunge Years. I acknowledge Nirvana Nevermind (along with Pearl Jam Ten) took a regional music scene and turned it into a national frenzy, and for that, both albums deserve the iconic place they have in music history. I also acknowledge Nevermind is an almost All Killer No Filler album, close to perfect but just missed it by one or two tracks. Kurt Cobain was a great songwriter capturing the angst of a certain era, but, let’s face it, had he not died young we might have faced a Fat Kurt a la Elvis scenario. Not saying we would have, just saying I prefer the Legendary Kurt a la James Dean more.

I also prefer Big Salads.

If I’m going to have a salad, I’m going to make a meal out of it. Sure, there is a place and time for a small salad – as a side for another meal item. I believe, most people ordering a salad as a meal want a Big Salad. Sadly, very few restaurants do big salads well with the exception of most diners. So when I want to Big Salad, I Big Salad at home.

The bowl needs to be large enough to toss the salad without creating a mess. This, of course, requires a large salad bowl. Technically you are looking for a serving bowl – something in the 1.5-quart category. This will offer up plenty of ingredient room. 

You want a salad big enough to qualify as a meal – provide vegetable and protein – but not be unwieldy. I tend to go heavier on vegetables than meat or cheese, but you want to be able to get a bit of everything in every bite. Too many Big Salads go way too heavy on cheese or croutons. As for the dressing, I go with a simple balsamic and oil. A salad should be dressed not costumed. Too much dressing ruins an otherwise great salad. 

How you do a Big Salad is really up to you. Big Salads for me often involve assembling whatever happens to be leftover in the refrigerator. For this particular salad, I started with some baby spinach. I topped the spinach with some leftover Black Bean & Corn Taco Salad. It had a lime-cumin dressing that then served as the dressing for the salad once tossed. Topped with a few homemade croutons, some sea salt, and Aleppo pepper, and I had a perfect quick afternoon lunch break.  Certainly better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant or delivered.

Black bean & corn salad, feta, croutons, baby spinach, sea salt, and Aleppo pepper 
Makes 1 big salad

2 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups Black Bean & Corn Taco Salad
1-ounce feta, crumbled
Sea salt
Aleppo pepper

Place the baby spinach in a large bowl. Place the black bean & corn salad in the center in a neat pile. Sprinkle the feta over the salad. Finish with croutons, sea salt & Aleppo pepper.

Makes 6 – 8 servings

2 15oz cans black beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 red onion, cut in half and sliced thin
2 medium red pepper, medium dice
1 large poblano, medium dice
1 yellow pepper, medium dice
1 jalapeno, medium dice
2 scallions, whites diced – greens chopped
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cups frozen corn
2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2  teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill for 1/2 hour before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Posted in bushwick, cooking, food, foodmusic, grillclub, music, musicfood, salad

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