|A heritage recipe, English Pea Salad is made up of frozen or canned peas, mixed, at minimum, with celery and onion, and dressed with a mayonnaise or sour cream based dressing. I've added some bacon, dill and cashews in mine here, but it's wide open for personalization.|
Old Fashioned Cold English Pea SaladCold Pea Salad is another holiday dish you may remember from your grandma's kitchen during the major holidays. Called English Pea Salad, it's more widely known these days as simply Cold Pea Salad, and is a long held holiday favorite, though it's really a great side dish for anytime of the year.
We were chatting about Pea Salad over on the Facebook page right around Thanksgiving and all of the different variations everybody makes. When I had a baby shower to go to this past weekend, I thought it would be a nice dish to bring and get posted before Christmas. Pea salad is probably one of those dishes that isn't nearly as appealing to the younger crowd as those of us who've been around a bit, so to be honest, I was secretly hoping there would be enough left for my lunch the next day. As it turns out we had plenty of food, ate plenty enough, and had leftovers too, so I was a happy gal!
To enjoy this salad, it helps if you're a fan of peas, which I am, though I have been told by some folks that family members who won't eat peas, will often eat a pea salad. Unless you're my husband who will, almost reluctantly, eat peas when I set them before him, but isn't remotely interested in pea salad at all. In his defense, he's not much of a salad eater to begin with though. His idea of salad is iceberg lettuce with French dressing, though I don't let him get away with that either.
A traditional Cold Pea Salad will almost always begin with frozen or canned peas, celery, onion of some kind, and a dressing of mayonnaise, sour cream, or a combination of the two. It's also very good with a sweet and sour dressing of vinegar, oil and sugar, and some folks like it with a coleslaw dressing or old fashioned boiled dressing.
From there, much like a pasta salad, you can customize it to your liking. Pickle relish, chopped hard boiled eggs, and diced or shredded Cheddar cheese are almost always the typical add-ins. I've kept the base recipe pretty basic, but included those add-in suggestions and others that were shared by Facebook readers in the Cook's Notes at the bottom. Get creative, have fun and make it your own! Here's how.
Recipe: Old Fashioned Cold English Pea Salad©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
- 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 3/4 cup of sour cream
- 1/8 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon of white or black pepper, or to taste
- 1 (18 to 20 ounce) bag of frozen sweet peas, thawed
- 1-1/2 cups of chopped celery
- 1/4 cup of sliced green onions
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of minced fresh dill
- 1-1/2 cups of whole cashews, or pecan or walnut halves, roughly broken, optional
- Reserved crumbled bacon & sprig of dill for garnish
Cook the bacon, crumble and set aside. Reserve a teaspoon for garnish. Beat the sour cream with the mayonnaise to loosen it, adding the sugar, salt and pepper; set aside. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the peas, celery and green onion. Reserve a sprig of dill for garnish. Add chopped dill to the salad along with the crumbled bacon. Add the sour cream mixture, toss, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, toss in the nuts and garnish.
I used Pictsweet Deluxe brand frozen baby sweet peas. Can also substitute two (10 ounce) packages of frozen peas, or two well drained cans of peas; I recommend Petit Pois or LeSueur peas though common green peas are also fine. If using canned, drain well and wait to add them at the end instead, tossing gently so as not to mash the peas. Can substitute chopped yellow onion for the green onion and can also substitute all mayonnaise or all sour cream. Can substitute chopped water chestnuts for the nuts, or eliminate altogether.
Optional Add-ins: Diced apple, chopped boiled eggs, grated or cubed cheddar cheese, chopped pickles or pickle relish, diced firm tomato, chopped bell pepper, and/or chopped pimento.
Optional Sweet and Sour Dressing: Combine 1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar, with 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan. Bring to a boil until sugar is well dissolved. Pour dressing over the salad, mix well and chill several hours or overnight.
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