A few weeks ago I added a cocktail to my blog called the Four Sisters. It was a cocktail that we “four sisters by choice” concocted and decided Four Sisters was a perfect name. We enjoyed a couple pitchers that day and have enjoyed several since. This is a salad called “Three Sisters Salad” that has nothing to do with our cocktail, although it would pair nicely. The three sisters in this recipe refers to the combination of corn, beans, and winter squash, key crops of indigenous Americans. The recipe is from the June/July 2020 issue of fine Cooking. I improvised a bit, mostly out of necessity. Since this pandemic started there are certain grocery items that are nearly impossible to find. For instance, dried beans. Who knew that a pandemic would cause people to hoard dried beans, but it must be a thing. This recipe called for dried black eyed peas and gave instructions for cooking them with onion and garlic and some herbs. Actually, even canned black eyed peas are hard to find. I had always looked for them in the section of the grocery with the other dried and canned beans. Even though they are called a pea they are actually a bean. On a recent grocery run I found them in the canned vegetable section. Right next to canned green peas, which are truly a disgusting thing. These particular canned beans had a very pleasant smoky taste, if you like that sort of thing, and they were a really good, I thought, addition to the salad.
Also, although one of the three sisters is winter squash, this recipe called for zucchini. And there is plenty of that available this time of year.
3 T white wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
I T maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T finely minced jalapeño (I took the seeds out of mine)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 ears of corn, kernels removed
3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced and separated
2 slender zucchini cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices and halved
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Make the dressing and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, syrup, and mustard. Continue whisking while adding the oil in a slow, steady stream. Stir in the jalapeño and a little salt and pepper.
Slice the zucchini and green onions and tear the basil leaves.
Remove the corn from the cob. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat and add the corn. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the scallion whites, stir, and cook for another minute. Transfer the corn and onions to a large bowl.
Drain and rinse the black eyed peas.
Add the black eyed peas to the bowl with the corn.
Add the zucchini and dressing and stir to combine. Stir in the basil and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish with the scallion greens.
We enjoyed our Three Sisters Salad with cod poached in white wine, tomatoes and capers and fresh green beans.
NOTE: Obviously, if you prefer, and if you can find them, you could cook the dried black eyed peas and add them to the salad. The recipe calls for 8 oz. of dried beans (about 1cup). Or, if you can find traditional vs the southern style black eyed peas, that would work as well. Although, I must say, the smoky taste worked for me. If you prefer you could use different beans altogether…lima, canary, navy, pinto.
The recipe called for a little less white wine vinegar (2 T) and less maple syrup (1 1/2 tsp). I increased both a bit based on my taste.
This salad was great at room temperature or chilled. I ate the leftovers the next day.