A salad like this starts showing up at takeout counters as the weather warms up. Tempting as it might be to buy it, try making it yourself. You can control the quality and quantity of the ingredients, and the flavors will be fresh and exactly to your liking.
To keep things manageable, make more barbecued chicken and corn than you need for dinner one night; use the leftovers for this salad the next. If you don’t have a prepared barbecue rub, you can just mix together chili powder, garlic or onion powder, cumin and a little salt.
Make Ahead: The corn, chicken and beans can be prepared a day or two in advance. The salad is best the first day but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. For optimal flavor, bring to room temperature before serving.
Servings: 4 - 6
Yield: Makes 5 cups
- 2 ears fresh corn, shucked, rinsed and wrapped in aluminum foil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of fat
- 2 teaspoons dry barbecue seasoning
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/4 cups (from one 15-ounce can) cooked black beans
- 4 scallions (trimmed) white and light-green parts, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
Prepare the grill for direct heat: If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 4 or 5 seconds. Lightly coat a grill rack with oil and place it on the grill.
Place the wrapped corn ears on the grill. Cover with the lid and cook for 20 to 24 minutes, turning the ears every 4 to 5 minutes, until the corn is tender and has started to brown lightly. Remove it from the grill, unwrap the ears and cool for at least 10 minutes.
While the corn cooks, prepare the chicken: Sprinkle it with the barbecue seasoning on both sides, then rub it with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Transfer to the grill and cook, covered, for 7 to 12 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the chicken breast halves.
As soon as the chicken is done, use 1 tablespoon of the barbecue sauce to brush the chicken (still on the grill). Cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to set the glaze. Transfer to a clean plate. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining 3 tablespoons of barbecue sauce, the cilantro, vinegar, sugar and salt to taste in a large bowl.
Use a small, sharp knife to cut the kernels from the corn ears; discard the cobs. Add the corn to the dressing.
Cut the chicken into 3/4-inch cubes; add to the corn and dressing, along with the black beans and chopped scallions. Stir to combine. Serve right away, or cover tightly refrigerate up to 3 days.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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