Monday, January 21, 2008

Peas on Earth, Goodwill to Men

Dried black eyed peas. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

On Jan. 1, New Year's tradition holds to eat greens or cabbage for wealth and black-eyed peas for good luck. I don't mind the greens, but, honestly, black-eyed peas boiled with pork taste just like dirt boiled with pork. A few years ago, I discovered Black-Eyed Peas Vinaigrette in Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking (I love the cover of Craig in his high-waisted trousers by a bountiful outdoors buffet). It is more refined than the usual boiled peas and a fine change-up for the New Year's Day menu.

Black-Eyed Peas Vinaigrette

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas

8 cups water

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 onion stuck with two cloves

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp dried thyme

4 sprigs parsley

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

2 tbsp finely chopped shallots

1 tsp finely minced garlic

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1. Rinse and pick over the peas and place in a kettle. Add the water, salt, pepper, and onion stuck with cloves. Tie the garlic clove, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley sprigs in a cheesecloth bag, and add it. Bring to the boil and simmer until the peas are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Remove the onion and cheesecloth bag. Drain the peas.

3. Put the peas in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped onion, shallots, minced garlic, chopped parsley, vinegar, and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to blend well. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature (my preference).

Text and images copyright 2008. Lucy Mercer

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