An ear of corn
Photo: Anna Knott

“ ‘Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.’ I wish I had said that, but it was Garrison Keillor,” says Ina Pinkney (a.k.a. the Breakfast Queen), the chef-owner of Ina’s (1235 W. Randolph St., 312-226-8227).

For this summery salad, Pinkney boils the kernels for three or four minutes at most—or, if the corn is superfresh, not at all. “They will marinate seviche-style in the juices from the onion and the limes. And the beans and onion take it to a new level—an unexpected place.”

TIP: “You needn’t strip back the husk to inspect an ear. You can feel the weight and fullness of the kernels through the husk,” says Pinkney.

Ina Pinkney’s Corn and Black Bean Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes

5 ears fresh corn
2 14-oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large red onion, diced
4 large jalapeños, seeded and diced
1 large red pepper, seeded and diced
¾ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup fresh lime juice (3 limes) plus lime wedges for garnish
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cut corn from cobs and blanch in lightly salted boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes until kernels turn golden and tender. Drain and shock kernels in an ice bath. Drain again and let rest.

2. Combine corn, beans, onion, jalapeño, red pepper, and cilantro in a large bowl. Chill for at least 1 hour.

3. About 45 minutes before serving, dress salad with olive oil and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Keep chilled until ready to serve. Garnish with lime wedges and extra cilantro, if desired.