Sunday, January 29, 2012

Super Bowl: Black Bean Salad and Other Fare

Something miraculous happened the other day.  My recluse husband said, "Your social tendencies are rubbing off on me.  I think we should have a pre-Super Bowl party."

This was shocking, particularly since Mark had to endure three holiday parties at our house in one week this past December.  I thought it was brilliant to have three parties of 30-50 people each over the course of 5 days.  What a challenge for a foodie like myself to pull this off -- and not take a day off of work. We could see everyone in our circles.  And I could prep for three parties all at once.

It worked. And apparently in more ways than one, since my husband is now actually suggesting a party.

So here I am, thinking through the menu.

Mexican-inspired chicken wings are a must.  Every time I make these, they fly from the plate. 

With some Frank's red hot sauce and butter, they are easily transformed to buffalo wings, another crowd favorite.

Chili, of course. I have a reputation to uphold.

I also have six pounds of Italian sausage from the famed Arthur Avenue in the Bronx for sausage and peppers.

My husband would be completely happy to not see a vegetarian dish in sight, but black bean salad would be perfect.  Marinated in a vinaigrette and paired with crunchy cucumbers and juicy tomatoes, it goes well with just about any standard Super Bowl fare you can throw at it.

Plus, it comes together in minutes, and you don't need a recipe.

Black Bean Salad

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Homemade vinaigrette (see below) or your favorite store-bought vinaigrette
Hothouse cucumber, diced (this is the long cucumber that comes wrapped in plastic)
Grape tomatoes, cut in 1/4s
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Optional: diced red onion, minced garlic, diced red pepper or other vegetable, chopped cilantro or parsley

Put black beans in a bowl. Add cucumber, tomatoes, vinaigrette, salt and pepper to your liking. If you like, add onion, garlic, and chopped fresh herbs.  Let marinate for an hour and serve (no need to refrigerate).

Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings.



Homemade vinaigrette is easy to make and economical too.  And all you have to do is remember this ratio to make vinaigrette any time: 1:4.  That's 1 part acid (lemon, lime, vinegar, etc.) to 4 parts olive oil. You can stop right there, or you can then add a little mustard (for flavor and to help the vinaigrette emulsify), and salt and pepper. If you want to go further, you could add some garlic and/or shallots.  The sky's the limit, or you can be a minimalist.

I am usually a lemon, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper vinaigrette kind of gal.

With the 1:4 ratio, you can make a little as a you want (e.g., a tsp. of acid to 4 tsp. olive oil) or a huge vat of a salad dressing. If you want to cut the oil, you could go to a 1:3 ratio, but you might have to add a little sugar to cut the acidity. If you use a cheap balsamic vinegar, which contains a lot of sugar, the 1:3 or even 1:2 ratio will work just fine.


Kevin said...

Ninette, those Mexican wings are going straight into my little BBQ blackbook! Will try them out this weekend and report back :)

Aggie said...

I love this bean salad! It looks delicious and would be great to have in the fridge for a quick snack or to throw on a salad salad for lunch or dinner.

I have to remember those Mexican wings for next time I make wings for my husband!