I've been on a bit of a nostalgic run lately, revisiting places and foods attached to previous lifetimes. I promise, I'm not looking to go back. I read a journal entry or two and I quickly realize that those times held as much complexity as these do, maybe more.
That being said, I think we can all do for a retracing of steps from time to time, or a retracing of crumbs in my case. I follow flavors all kinds of places. They really do all seem to have a taste attached.
The taste in this case is the unexpected combination of sweet and spice in Calypso Cafe's Black Bean Salad. It may sound familiar because I've raved about it in both of my Nashville posts (most recently, Sunday). Having now covered the recreation of Smashed Salmon Salad as my favorite dish in my actual college town, I'm moving on to my favorite forkful from my adopted college town.
There is absolutely no sophistication here. I cannot tell you why I'm so attached to it other than it is a) reminiscent of an uncertain time that turned out beautifully and b) DELICIOUS.
2 cans black beans
1 TB olive oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 cup beer (Used Guinness because chocolate undertones go well but anything would work)
1 cup of water
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
2 cups lightly broken tortilla chips
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced tomato
1 1/2 cups chopped roast chicken
1/3 cup shredded/grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup canned sliced jalapenos (optional)
Cucumber Dill Dressing
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 1/2 cups 2% Greek yogurt (I use this in place of sour cream and mayo. I've yet to be let down.)
1/4 cup fresh dill fronds, chopped (Note: I LOVE fresh dill. You could use less but why?)
1/4 cup olive oil (for texture, no need to break out your best bottle)
1 heaping teaspoon of buttermilk powder
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1) Open, drain and rinse your beans. Set them aside.
2) Saute garlic and onion in olive oil at medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add in spices till everything in the pot is coated and fragrant. 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.
3) Add your beans, mix well then add your beer and water. Bring this up to a boil then immediately turn heat down till you can keep a steady simmer. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally till liquid is reduced by a third.
4) While your beans are busy soaking up goodness, make the dressing. Put all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Whirl it around. Season to taste and refrigerate. Done.
5) Assemble the rest of your chopped ingredients in the following order: hearty amount of romaine lettuce, tortilla chips, chicken, tomatoes, red onion, cheese.
6) Use a slotted spoon to divide your black beans out over the salads.
7) Pour a liberal bit of cucumber dill dressing over the top of it all. Look at the ingredients. Nothing bad for you here and you'll have plenty left over for use elsewhere (egg salad, salmon filets, drizzle in tomato soup, etc.).
8) Grab a fork and carry on with the crunching.