Why famous? Well, it started many years ago when I was making pottery and taking classes on a regular basis at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.
I specialized in handbuilding and loved to Raku-fire pots outdoors. At the end of each quarter, we would have a party, appropriately named “pot luck raku.” Each person brought a dish to share. We’d set the food out on long tables outdoors next to the raku kilns and eat, drink wine, fire pots, pull them out of the kilns at red hot temperature and throw them in the sawdust to absorb the smoke! There were some amazing dishes—both from a food and a pottery perspective—that showed up at these events, and I have such fond memories of these times. It was at one of these parties that I first tasted the dish Fesenjan, the Persian chicken and pomegranate stew, as well as some other worldly delights.
I’ve already posted about one of my two favorite art party dishes in the form of my Arty Artichoke Dip, but perhaps the most beloved pot luck dish of all that I make…the “famous” dish of this post, was my oft-requested Black Bean Mango salad. This salad is just perfect for this time of year. It has a little kick from the cumin and chili powder, but is very cooling at the same time. It combines fresh tropical fruit with peppers, black beans, red onion and citrus, as well as some garlic, for a nice balance of flavors. And it’s as versatile as the day is long, because it can be used as a vegetarian main dish, a side dish for grilled meats or vegetables and alongside almost anything with Mexican flavors. Don’t have access to mangoes you say? Use peaches instead, as they are equally good. Additionally, this makes a wonderful appetizer eaten with tortilla chips.
We enjoyed this dish at home the other night alongside my easy Enchiladas Verdes, and it was just the right accompaniment. I’ve shared this recipe so many times with friends and it has been listed in the recipes section of this blog for quite a while now. But in making it again the other night, I decided it truly deserved its own post and I hope you’ll love this great salad as much as we and my friends do. With all the hot temps we’ve had, the timing couldn’t be much better for this dish!
So tell me, what favorite summer salad are you famous for?
Betsy’s Black Bean Mango Salad
For the Salad:
2 – 14.5 oz cans of black beans, low or no salt preferred, drain, and rinse with water and drain again
3 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and minced
2 ripe fresh mangoes peeled, pitted and diced, or an equal amount of peeled and diced fresh peaches can be substituted
1 red bell pepper, washed, cored, seeded and diced
1 red onion, peeled, cored and diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 4 large limes
1 rounded tsp. of ground cumin
1 rounded T. of chili powder
Place beans, garlic, mango, red bell pepper and onion in a large bowl and mix gently to combine. In a small bowl combine the cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, cumin and chili powder with a whisk until well mixed. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and stir with a spoon until thoroughly coated. Cover the salad and place into the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes to let the flavors combine. Keeps well in the fridge for several days.