Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Perfect Match

Ever since I first tried the Spicy Garlic Cashew Chicken recipe from Simply Recipes, it’s been a household favorite. Each time I make the dish, lovingly referred to as “Crusty Thighs”, I’m perplexed about what to serve with it. I’ve tried guacamole, black bean hummus, and even grilled vegetables. Nothing ever stood out as a true “meant to be” accompaniment.

Until now. This time I made the Crusty Thighs, Jeffrey tossed out the idea of making a black bean salad to go with it. I immediately agreed, and assisted in chopping as he pulled it together. We added avocado chunks, not a traditional part of black bean salad, but oh so good. The salad can be modified to your liking but ours consists of black beans, minced garlic, finely diced onion, sweet corn (we use thawed frozen), diced tomato, chopped cilantro, diced Serrano pepper, avocado chunks, lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. The flavor of this salad is fantastic even as a snack, but mixed with the rich and juicy southwestern-spiced chicken is a perfect match. The consistency of the regional flavors contrasted in a cold and fresh format was delectable. Adding to the freshness, we also topped off our chicken with a dollop of sour cream. We served this up with warm corn tortillas…a perfect lightly salty implement for eating pieces of chicken together with the bean salad.