We’re Cooking: Black Pea Salad


I was on Texas Living last week with the amazing Chef Dean Fearing for their New Year’s Eve show. In appropriate fashion, I talked bubbly and Chef Dean made black eyed peas, a requirement that you had to eat to ensure a lucky year on New Year’s Day, something I learned at a very young age from my grandmother. Though Grandma Doris did a nice job cooking her beans with bacon and jalapeño, it often stopped there. The version Chef made were lively, flavorful and offered great taste and texture. Here is my take on what he made.

Black Eyed Pea Salad
16 ounces dried black eyed peas
4 cups chicken stock + 2 cups water
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 jalapeños, stems and seeds removed, one minced/one sliced into strips
2 whole sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 zucchini squash, diced
1 tomato, seeds removed and diced
4 radishes, diced
3 spring onions, white and dark green parts sliced very thin
1/2 cup basil, julienned
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Drizzle olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced very fine
1/2 teaspoon crushed, toasted fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

IMG_6398Cook the bacon in a medium sized Dutch oven or bean pot until very crispy. Add the peas, white onion and jalapeño, stir to coat in the bacon fat.  Stir in cumin, fresh rosemary stems and 1 teaspoon black pepper, then add the stock and water. Bring to a boil then simmer until very tender. Meanwhile whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside. When the beans have cooked almost through stir in 1 tablespoon of salt.  Cook for another 5 minutes then drain any remaining liquid and pour into a large mixing bowl.

IMG_6402Add the remaining vegetables, herbs and the dressing.  Stir to combine. Serve immediately at room temperature or chill and serve cold. It will get better the longer it sits, so making it ahead of time will only improve the flavor.