Sunday, November 2, 2014

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

At the Washington, DC Black Expo in 2000 or 2001, I sampled a Black-Eyed Pea Salad offered by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor. She is a culinary anthropologist, and best known for her PBS show and her books Vibration Cooking: or Notes of a Geechee Girl, and Vertamae Cooks Again.

I never forgot that sample. It's tastiness shocked me. I had never considered beans, especially black- eyed peas, as the star of a salad. How good could it be? Bad ass good, it turned out. I believe she said she used Italian dressing in hers. Whatever the ingredients, if it's been over ten years since I ate something and I still remember it, then that is one hell of a food memory.

I was craving this salad last week. There's plenty of versions of this on the internet. I chose the Neelys version, then changed it a bit after reading the reviews. This is their original:
They use canola oil, sugar, and parsley. Olive oil tastes better. This salad does not need a lick of sugar. And cilantro reigns over parsley any day of the week.

This is my version:

Black-Eyed Pea Salad (V, GF)


1 large tomato, diced

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained


Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Toss all together and let marinate for at up to 8 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Twenty minutes is all it took to make this salad. Do leave it in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors marry. Add some avocado for more body. You can even switch up the beans. Black beans would be good. Let me know when you all make it!



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