Picture this: a clarion afternoon where the sun glimmers through the leaves of green, summer trees and a warm breeze whispers through the grass like a secret. There’s hardly a care and friends are supping during a picnic lunch, which wanes to a sleepy lull of harmless gossip.
Although this description may be too idealistic for a humdrum summer day, I feel it fitting for a dish such as Ina Garten’s idyllic Guacamole Salad. Below is the recipe…
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and ½ inch diced
1 (15 oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup small-diced red onion
2 Tbs. minced jalapeño peppers, seeded (2 peppers)*
½ tsp. lime zest
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup good olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. minced garlic
¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper*
2 ripe avocados, seeded, peeled, and ½ inch diced*
1-2 cups fresh or frozen corn (optional)
*This recipe can easily be altered to your individual tastes and preferences. When I made this salad for the Lise Davidsen/Jonas Kaufmann Walküre concert, it was to be served to ladies of elegant deportment, and so, I significantly cut down on the spicy ingredients.
Depending on availability, substitutions can be made with the bell peppers (any color will do) as well as the avocados. Ina Garten is an advocate for Hass avocados, but the large, green Florida ones work just as well in this recipe.
I also like to add corn kernels to this salad for yet another dimension in texture, color, and flavor. Use what you like and can readily find in your area.
Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeño peppers, (corn, if you are using), and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables and beans. Toss well.
Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.
Whether for a quiet lunch or a fiery fiesta, this salad is a hit ! It can be doubled and served to a crowd (the original recipe indicates that it serves 6) and can also be made ahead of time.
Toi, Toi, Toi,