The Beauty of Beans: Black Eyed Pea Salad

September 2, 2015

Black eyed peas are a staple in American Southern cuisine.  Referred to simply as "peas," this iconic food is usually cooked low and slow in a large pot with some form of pork and hearty greens.  While we can always go the traditional route, I prefer black eyed peas tossed with a piquant vinaigrette and fresh vegetables.  Since I am trying to hold on to the last days of summer (and all the seasonal treasures that come along with it), I have created a colorful black eyed pea salad studded with sweet tomatoes, crunchy celery, red bell pepper and corn.  Like any good bean dish, this one gets better as it sits so make it a day or two in advance.

Black Eyed Pea Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups dried black eyed peas
5 oz. applewood smoked bacon, chopped
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large heirloom tomato, deseeded and chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
1 red bell pepper, ribs removed, deseeded and diced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Step 1: Soak the beans in a bowl of cold water for at least 12 hours.  Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Heat a large pot over medium high heat, add the chopped bacon. Cook the bacon until the fat begins to render, about 7 minutes.  Add the beans and stir.  Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook the beans until tender, about 30 minutes.  

Step 3: Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and vinaigrette.  Whisk together the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.  Add the garlic and scallions and whisk again.  Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Transfer the black eyed peas to a bowl.  Depending on your individual taste, you can choose to remove the bacon or leave it in the pot. Toss the beans with the vinaigrette and add the vegetables.  Mix until well combined.  Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

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