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I jumped the gun on sweet corn this year. Now we have a killer salad to bring to any picnic, BBQ or outdoor potluck party all summer!

Cabbage is the vegetable that sits in the back of the bus alone that no other vegetables want to hang out with.  But I love cabbage. When I was growing up we’d make sauerkraut and let it ferment in a huge crock all summer in the basement. In this recipe I use a sauerkraut tactic of rubbing the cabbage with salt and beating it up a little so it breaks down, allowing us to enjoy raw cabbage without having to chew it for an hour.

Here was my thought process on the kidney beans: Why have I been looking at a jar of dried kidney beans in the cupboard for eight months? What should I do with them? When is the last time I had a kidney bean that wasn’t in CHILI? I like a challenge, so why don’t I just soak them and I’ll figure this out tomorrow. Done.

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I saw corn and dried beans together and by default I went down a Latin flavor path. It only felt deserving that I use cilantro, jalapeno and citrus. As always I soak way too many beans with out measuring. And what did I make the next day with all the left over kidney beans? Chili of course!

Charred Corn and Cabbage Salad
{gluten-free}

Serves 6-8 as a side

2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 head of Napa cabbage (about 4 cups) + 2 tablespoons salt
one bunch of scallions
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 jalapeno, diced
juice of one lime
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper

Soak the kidney beans the night before. The following day drain them and add twice as much water as there are beans. Simmer them in a large pot until cooked through and creamy when eaten. If they are crumbly in your mouth, they are not done enough! When cool add two cups to a large bowl.

The cabbage can be shredded or sliced thin. Put in a separate mixing bowl and sprinkle with two tablespoons of salt. Now squeeze the life out it. The salt granules will cut the flesh of the cabbage and allow the liquid to escape while it breaks down the tough texture.  You’ll notice a lot of liquid coming out in the bottom of the bowl. Massage until it looks wilted and weak. Then soak the cabbage for two minutes in water to allow some of the excess salt to leach out. Drain and add to the kidney beans.

Cut the corn off the cob or use frozen sweet corn in a pinch. Add one tablespoon oil to a pan on medium high heat and wait for it to almost smoke. Add corn and cover. Check after two minutes. You want the corn to be blackened on at least one side. Shake the pan to loosen the kernels and season with salt and pepper. When the corn is charred and cooked through, remove from heat. Add to bowl with cabbage and beans when cool.

Chop scallions a half-inch long. They add a nice bite to this salad when they are larger. Remove the seeds from the jalapeno and small dice. Pull the leaves off of half a bunch of cilantro and add all of these ingredients to the bowl.

Finally, add the juice of one lime and half a lemon, olive oil and the honey to the bowl and thoroughly mix with your hands. Season one last time with salt and pepper.

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