Black bean and toasted corn tacos (2-4 servings)

tacos.jpg

I am a big, big fan of recipes that make me look like I worked much harder than I really did. This one from the May/June issue of Vegetarian Times fits into that category. It doesn't get much easier than using canned beans, jarred salsa, and frozen corn. Of course, you could use homemade salsa or fresh corn, and you can "accessorize" with fresh ingredients like chopped tomatoes or sliced green onions. I prefer to keep this recipe pretty simple though. Below is my slightly modified version of this easy and delicious recipe.

You will need:

  • 1 cup cooked black beans (canned beans are fine)
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin, divided
  • 1 cup corn kernels (rinse under warm water if frozen)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 6-inch tortillas
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (The recipe also suggests cotija, but I didn't know where to find that)
  • cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • other favorite taco toppings (opt.)

Steps:

  1. Add the beans, salsa, garlic, and 1 tsp of cumin to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer on medium-low and cook 5-6 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat and mash slightly, if desired.
  2. Meanwhile, spritz a large skillet with cooking spray and over medium-high. Add the corn to the skillet in a single layer; sprinkle corn with the remaining cumin and cayenne/red pepper flakes to taste. Cook 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the corn is golden and crispy.
  3. Warm the tortillas to make them softer. Fill each tortilla with 1/4 each of the bean mixture, corn mixture, and feta. Top with other condiments, if desired, and serve.

A few tips: If you're using frozen corn, make sure it's relatively dry when you add it to the skillet, or you might get some sputtering when it hits the heat. Also, if you're a frequent reader of this blog, you already know I love tomato paste in a tube. On a recent excursion to A Southern Season, I discovered garlic paste in a tube! With Gia's brand, one half-inch squeeze equals one clove of garlic. Obviously, I wouldn't want to use it for a recipe where garlic is used raw or where texture is important, but it's fabulous for something like this where the garlic just blends into the background. Plus, it saves me from washing a knife and from getting my hands smelly.

This recipe is simple but quite impressive. I never would have thought to toast corn, but it makes a huge flavor difference. The salty feta is a perfect pairing for the beans and corn, and I imagine a few chunks of avocado would be lovely too. I served the tacos with steam-in-the-bag Spanish rice I found at Super Target. Bryan was able to eat two tacos, but I could only manage one myself (too many pretzel M&Ms this afternoon). I can't wait to eat the remaining one for lunch tomorrow.