Friday, December 31, 2010

Black-eyed Pea Salad for Good Luck

I'm not really sure exactly where 2010 went, but here we are at December 31st.  This year brought a lot of positive things to my life, including the start of this blog, a bigger and better apartment that actually feels like a home, and wonderful new coworkers and friends.  There were some disappointments to be sure, but I've learned that it's best not to dwell on those because there's always tomorrow.

To ensure good luck in the coming year, my family (like many with their roots in the South) eats black-eyed peas on New Year's Day.  As a child, I obligatorily ate one or two of the "funny looking" legumes, hoping that it would bring me just enough luck to get by.  I was a ridiculously picky eater as a child, so the whole bean and pea family was pretty much a no-go for me.  As my mom can attest, my eating habits now would make my child-self run away in terror.

Instead of the standby pot of black-eyed peas cooked with a ham hock or bacon, I thought I'd lighten up the tradition with a black-eyed pea salad.  I wanted to craft a dish that came together quickly and could be made ahead.  This recipe fits the bill - a cider-mustard vinaigrette infuses a mound of black-eyed peas, red and green bell pepper, red onion, and a little celery.  Salt & Pepper to taste, and you're good to go.  What's more, the salad actually gets better if it's made at least an hour ahead.

I hope all of you have a wonderful, prosperous new year filled with good luck and good friends.  Have a wonderful New Year's holiday, and I'll see you in 2011!

Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Serves 4-6 as a side dish or starter

3 T. apple cider vinegar
1 t. spicy brown mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T. vegetable oil
1/4 t. pepper
Dash salt

2 cups black-eyed peas (about equal to 1 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed thoroughly)
1 small celery rib, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced (Note: Feel free to substitute 2-3 scallions here)
1/2 c. diced red bell pepper
1/2 c. diced green bell pepper
Parsley, for serving

In a medium sized bowl, combine apple cider vinegar, garlic, and mustard until well combined.  Slowly whisk in oil; then add pepper and salt.

Add black-eyed peas, celery, onion, and bell peppers to vinaigrette.  Stir until everything is well-coated in the vinaigrette.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.  Let sit covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Serve cold or at room temperature, with a small bowl of chopped parsley passed alongside for topping.

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