Monday, August 10, 2015

Southern Caviar - Black Eyed Pea Salad

Southern Caviar - a vinaigrette dressed, festive southern vegetable salad twist on salsa, made with black-eyed peas, celery, pimentos, jalapeno, garlic, green onion and fresh tomato, and beloved on the church supper, potluck and entertaining circuits.
Southern Caviar - a vinaigrette dressed, festive southern vegetable salad twist on salsa, made with black-eyed peas, celery, pimentos, jalapeno, garlic, green onion and fresh tomato, and beloved on the church supper, potluck and entertaining circuits.

Southern Caviar - Black Eyed Pea Salad

I spent the weekend clearing away clutter and doing a bit of organizing. Seems like I had a pile of this and that, here and there and everywhere! Course, I've never been one of those folks who has had a "magazine" house, where it all looks beautiful and pristine, with the latest furniture and decorating trends, and not a thing out of place, as if nobody actually lived there, but... things are lookin' just a tad bit too lived-in around here lately.

Apparently I can either spend time with my grandbabies, review products, develop recipes, write columns, style and photograph food, blog, cook or clean... but not any one of them simultaneously, never mind several at the same time. (Y'all already know which one of these takes priority though, right? ::smile::) And to think... I used to be such a great multi-tasker, ha!

I'm nowhere near done (the garage is the big clutter hole since we moved in and my office isn't much better), though I did make some good headway eliminating piles of papers from flat surfaces and boxes shoved in corners, thank goodness. It's too hot outside to do much of anything else anyway. Seems I've been a bit remiss with dusting too, so I'm catching up on that today and finishing up some laundry that I didn't manage to get through last week. It is Monday, afterall!

Although I had plans for cooking this weekend, we actually had plenty of leftovers to finish off, so that gave me more time for chores, yay! (not) I took a break to watch a movie - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - a critically acclaimed Oscar, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe winner, after which I wished that I had that hour and 59 minutes back in my life. Must be intellectually beyond me, though I do like the actors in it and I got a little rest by sitting still for a bit.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember that huge bag of purple hull peas I came home with from the Biloxi Farmer's Market. By far, purple hulls are my favorite summertime field pea. I prepared a batch according to my recipe (minus the okra) on page 109 of my cookbook Deep South Dish Homestyle Southern Recipes {affill link} and after serving them a second time as a side dish, I still had a few cups leftover. What a perfect time to make this marinated salad to finish them off! While I used freshly cooked purple hull peas, black-eyed peas are actually more common, probably because they are easier to find canned, which work quite well too.

My favorite way to eat this is with tortilla chips as a salsa, but it's also a great side garnish for roasted and grilled meats too, or as a salad, on its own or spooned over shredded lettuce. Easy to make and take, it's also a staple at many southern church suppers, picnics, parties and potlucks. The major difference between how anybody prepares it lies in what the additions are, and the ratio of the sweet and sour in the dressing. I like the balance here, but you can easily adjust the vinegar and sugar to adapt to your own taste.

Here's how I make mine. Nothing much to it really, but delicious all the same. As always, you'll find the full recipe with ingredient lists and measurements located a little further down the page.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper for the dressing in a lidded storage bowl. Okay to use sugar substitute. To that, add the drained black-eyed or purple hull peas.

Add the salad ingredients, except for the lime juice and herbs. Sweet onion is good here, but I actually prefer purple onion over sweet for this. I also used some celery, pimento, pickled jalapeno, garlic, green onion and fresh tomato, but of course, use what you like. Shoepeg corn is a good add-in, as are beans (black, pinto, red, northern), bell peppers, and I've even seen chopped artichoke hearts added. Cover tightly and refrigerate several hours up to overnight before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge, but consume in a couple of days.

I like a nice squeeze from a wedge of lime over the salad and to stir in fresh herbs, just before serving. Dig in!

For more of my summer favorites, visit my page on Pinterest!

Posted by on August 10, 2015
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