Beans with Skillet-Toasted Corn and Tomatoes


Beans with a meaty texture and flavor, such as Jacob's cattle beans, make a great match for smoky toasted corn and tomatoes.


  • 2 cups (12 ounces) dried beans, such as Jacob's cattle, kidney, or pinto, soaked, liquid reserved

  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

  • 3 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 ears)

  • 1 garlic clove, sliced

  • 2 tablespoon s

  • 3 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise into eighths

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste

  • 8 romaine lettuce leaves

  • 3 ounces smoked cheese, such as Gouda or cheddar, cut into ¼-inch cubes


  1. Place beans, soaking liquid, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot. Liquid should cover by 2 inches; adjust as necessary. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain, and transfer to a bowl. (Makes 5 cups beans.)

  2. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, and add corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until corn begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until corn is browned and begins to pop, 3 to 4 minutes. Add to beans. Wipe skillet, return to medium-high heat, and add 1 teaspoon oil. Add tomatoes, in a single layer, and thyme. Cook, turning occasionally, until soft and beginning to char, 6 to 7 minutes.

  3. Coarsely chop tomatoes, and add to beans. Whisk vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Pour over beans, stirring gently. Spoon over lettuce, and top with cheese.

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