Contrasts abound in this colorful salad. To make the texture more interesting, use corn kernels cut from freshly steamed cobs and plump home-cooked black beans. Another advantage of this salad in a barbecue buffet: it makes a delicious entrée for vegetarian guests.
Dry black beans need to be soaked before they are cooked, as do most beans. In a large mixing bowl, cover 2 cups of beans with 6 cups of cold water. Soak, uncovered, for at least several hours, or for best results, overnight in the refrigerator. Or, to quick-soak, place dry beans and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, covered, over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 1 hour. To cook soaked beans, drain off soaking water and discard. Place beans in a large saucepan and add 6 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until a bean is tender but not mushy when eaten, about 2 hours. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Use in salad right away, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.