Wednesday Jan 17

Sarah-Pazur Sarah Pazur owns Tapenade Fine Catering ( based in Dearborn, MI. She is also a teacher and curriculum coordinator at Henry Ford Academy in Detroit. Her writings and poems have appeared in several quarterlies including The Allegheny Review, Driftwood, Gertrude, and Life News. She lives in Dearborn, MI with her husband, son, and her dog, Benny, a Jack Russel Terrier who is the apple of her eye.

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

As a caterer, one of my favorite things about the business is helping my clients craft menus that send clear messages to their guests. Often times I hear, ”I want to be different. I don’t want typical wedding food—NO CHICKEN. NO MOSTACHOLI.” Well, it’s no secret that food can make or break a party. But even more than satisfy the most discriminating palates, food speaks volumes about the host. I invented this recipe in response to a client’s request for non-traditional high school graduation fare that was pretty to look at, tasty, and healthy. Knowing that many of her guests will have already attended a dozen open houses, (some on the same day!) she also wanted the food to stand out. After she decided on a taco bar, I suggested this colorful and inventive salad to replace the more generic refried beans found on most Mexican-themed menus. Her message was clear: I’m different. I’m health conscious. And I am thoughtful about food. The result was just what my client wanted—a welcome surprise on the buffet that got her guests talking. I can’t count how many people asked for the recipe. Here it is. Enjoy!

GPazur-Food1rilled Corn and Black Bean Salad with Creamy Cointreau Dressing

Serves 6-8



5 ears of corn

1 large garlic clove, peeled

1 large green pepper diced medium

1 15 oz Black Beans, rinsed and drained

½ medium red onion, diced medium

20 grape tomatoes, quartered

½ cup cilantro coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish

½ avocado sliced

2 Tbsp sugar

Olive Oil

Kosher Salt



3/4 cup “good” mayonnaise (as Ina Garten would say)

¼ cup fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp Cointreau

½ Tbsp kosher salt

¼ Tsp white pepper

1 large garlic clove, pressed

  1. Shuck the corn. Dissolve 2 Tbsp sugar in cold water. Pour water over the corn and add more water to cover the ears. Let soak for at least 30 minutes in the sugar solution.
  2. Make the dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, lime juice, Cointreau, salt, pepper, and garlic clove vigorously. It will be the consistency of milk. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
  3. Start the coals for your grill.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the green pepper, black beans, onion, tomato, and cilantro.
  5. Remove corn from sugar water. Dry the corn. Drizzle the corn with olive oil.
  6. Place corn over hot coals. Rotate the corn every minute until charred on all sides. About five minutes total.
  7. Remove hot corn from grill. While it’s still warm, drizzle it with olive oil again.
  8. Take peeled garlic clove and rub it over the warm corn to release the garlic flavor. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the corn. Let cool.
  9. When corn is cool enough to handle, stand each ear vertically and slice kernels off with a sharp knife. You will have about two cups of corn kernels.
  10. Add kernels to the salad.
  11. Pour half of the dressing over the salad and mix well. Add more to taste. (Reserve the remaining dressing for another use.)
  12. Top salad with sliced avocado and cilantro.