As corny as NC in spring

The stack of corn in my freezer is smaller, but still there. Little bags of white-gold reproach, they are. To go with our Memorial Day burgers, I used some to make a corn and black bean salad.

The corn had a lot of liquid in it, so I heated it in a non-stick skillet, stirring, until the liquid was gone but the kernels were still moist. I mixed about a cup of the corn with a can of black beans, which I had rinsed and drained to remove some of the salt. I always do that with canned beans. Some chopped Vidalia onion and green bell pepper went in, too. Cilantro would have been nice, but I didn’t have any.

I concentrated on getting a lot of flavor into the dressing. I mixed olive oil, oregano, thyme, salt, black pepper, garlic, red wine vinegar, a squirt of lime juice and my secret weapon, homemade hot pepper vinegar. I threw in a few dashes of chili powder and smoked paprika, too. I poured the dressing over the vegetables and refrigerated it all for about five house, giving it a shake occasionally. The sweet corn and the other flavors worked out just as I’d hoped.

If you’ve never made hot pepper vinegar, it’s so stupidly easy. Get a scrupulously clean jar and enough fresh hot peppers to fill it up. Pour in white wine vinegar. Add a couple cloves of garlic, if you want. Sit the jar, covered, in a cupboard for a week or two, or until it’s hot enough for you. Leave it as is, or decant into another, more attractive bottle and toss in some of the peppers. Done.