Teamwork is essential when two or more people collaborate on a meal, but sometimes conflict is equally important. Last night's dinner is a case in point. When I ("I" being me, David, the heretofore silent, Teller-like member of our blogging duo) suggested a raw corn and radish salad, vegetarian Robin looked repulsed, reacting as if I had suggested a viscera and bone marrow stew.
I mounted my defense. "Corn and radishes seem very summery to me," I said. Robin parried with a series of dismissive queries. "Raw corn?" "Raw corn?" "Why would I want to eat raw corn?" Now, there were two ways I could have reacted to Robin's blunt criticism (Robin tends to be blunt with everyone, so I try -- usually without success -- not to take it personally). I could have stubbornly proceeded as planned -- and slept in the guest room. Or I could take her criticism as a challenge and create a better meal. Not liking the guest room much (it aggravates my allergies), I chose the latter option.
I decided to collaborate with Robin on a new version of the corn and radish dish. I said I could roast the corn and radishes rather than serve them raw. That idea got a thumbs up. She suggested we add the green beans from the garden for added color and texture. I said that sounded great (I really don't like the guest room). To stay with our cooked, not raw theme, I proposed blanching and then sauteing the green beans, and adding caramelized onions. Robin liked that idea, and the dish was now set.
After tasting the final product, I reluctantly had to admit that Robin had been right to reject my initial concept (I'm not sure I actually vocalized my admission loud enough for Robin to hear it). The resulting dish had a more complex blend of tastes and textures, and was more colorful, than my original recipe. Thanks to our conflict, we ate -- and I slept -- better that night.
Honeyed Snap Beans with Roasted Corn and Radish
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
kosher salt and black pepper
Roasted Corn and Radish
4 cups fresh corn kernels
2 medium radishes, sliced into thin rounds
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb green beans, stems removed
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp butter
1/8 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Dressing: Combine lime juice, jalapeno, honey and cumin in blender. With motor running, slowly add vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Roasted Corn and Radish: Combine corn, radish rounds, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast mixture for 10-12 minutes until done.
- Green Beans: While corn is roasting, bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil. Add beans and boil until just tender. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oil and butter over medium in a saute pan. Saute beans until starting to brown. Remove from pan and add to corn mixture. Add parsley.
- In same pan, caramelize onions over medium. Add to corn and beans, then toss with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.