Black-eyed peas, they’re practically the official bean of the Southern U.S. Except the most common variety is apparently called a California BlackEye and…whatevs. We be lovin’ them in the South. The pea is ours! Typically I do as most good Southern people do, adding them to a pot or crock pot with ham or bacon and some salt, slow-cooking them till they’ve basically given up on life and are deliciously soft. It’s their new-found apathy that makes them taste. so. good! But this post isn’t about those style of peas. It’s time for a new pea recipe, my friends.
On a recent dark and stormy food blogging day, we attempted to make what looks at the end like something you’d take to a sunny family gathering. And I’m thinking not many people associate black-eyed peas with bright and sunny, but it’s possible this recipe could work for that.
Know how I’ve advised on here before to carefully and fully read a recipe all the way through. Well, I should take my own advice more often, cuz I didn’t realize how much work this little Summer-y side salad was. See the celery above? The directions called for boiling it. For thirty seconds. Jiminy Cricket on a stick. We had a big helping of No Thanks when we saw that. And lo, there was no boiling and it was GOOD.
What I’m trying to say is we advise not bothering with boiling the dumb celery. Changes are definitely noted below.
There’s also this fella – say hello to Mr. Broiled Red Pepper. Now, this can actually be fun….if it’s not 200 degrees outside already. Want to save even more time? Buy a jar of roasted red peppers, drain some, pat them dry on a paper towel and chop them up. You get the exact same thing as doing it yourself. Take that dangled carrot and do whatever you will.
If you do go the DIY route, here’s a pro-tip: immediately after the pepper is done broiling in the oven, put it in a heat-proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap to trap in heat and moisture. Let it sit in there for about 15 or 20 minutes, then peel the skin off. It should peel easier. I didn’t leave ours in to sweat long enough. Don’t be me!
The black-eyed peas themselves are simply cooked on the stovetop for about 45 minutes. You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate them till ready to use. In fact, I’d probably do that next time in addition to chilling the salad itself more. It wasn’t a favorite taste overall at room temperature.
The salad dressing is a little low-fat mayo, diced and cooked onions and apple cider vinegar. This is the one area I think the recipe needs adjusting and improving to taste. I think next time I’d prefer a little more of the vinegar. You’ll need to work with it and see what tastes best to you.
I kind of needed to use some tomatoes up, so we sampled some of the salad with another Southern staple – simple tomato sandwiches! The black-eyed pea salad absorbs some of the flavor of the dressing after chilling in the fridge for a while, so, again, just be aware and have some vinegar, maybe a little more mayo or some of the recipe’s suggested hot sauce to liven it up a little, or maybe set these items out to let guests gussy it up to their liking. Enjoy!
Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Adapted very slightly from Black-Eyed Pea Salad by Kevin Gillespie for Food and Wine Magazine
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: about 1 hour Chill Time: 1 to 2 hours Level: Easy Serves: 4
- 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 large celery ribs, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
- 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 4 large scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Tabasco Sauce, for seasoning
In a saucepan, cover the black-eyed peas with water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until tender, 45 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Roast the bell pepper directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until charred. Let cool. Peel and seed the bell pepper; cut into 1/4-inch dice.
Add the mayonnaise and vinegar to the onion. Fold in the black-eyed peas, bell pepper, celery and scallions; season with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Chill for about 1 to 2 hours before serving. Adjust any seasonings as necessary when serving.
Basically any helpful tips are in the post above, namely a way to help make peeling the roasted pepper a little easier (or heck, just buy some jarred roasted red peppers), and again, we left out the step calling for boiling the celery for thirty seconds. We felt the little bit of crunch from the celery was a nice contrast to the other softer textures. And that boiling it for thirty seconds was silly.