Aug 4, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Black-Eyed Pea Salad

I admit I have not always been a fan of black-eyed peas and other field peas.  Before they "grew" on me, I turned up my nose at them, because I just didn't care for the taste.  That is, until I experienced this wonderful salad at a friend's home when we were living in Oklahoma. Our families both moved away ten years ago - in fact, they're 13 timezones and half a world from us, at least for a little while longer.

I'm not sure my proportions are exactly in line with hers, but we love this salad and miss those meals with very dear friends.  (I wonder if they can get these ingredients in Malaysia?)

This salad is a very versatile side dish; when tomatoes are in season, it's particularly tasty and holds its own against the bold flavors of barbecued ribs and other meats.  I've also served this on New Year's Day, as our mandatory black-eyed pea dish.  (For good luck, of course.)

Pam's Black-eyed Pea Salad

1 can black-eyed peas, drained
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced (or substitute 2-3 cups of halved cherry or grape tomatoes)
1 sweet onion, diced
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup Catalina or other sweet French dressing
Frito corn chips, coarsely crushed

Drain peas (you can also rinse them if you wish).  Dice tomatoes and onion.  Mix peas, onion, tomato and dressing together, and allow to marinate for a few hours or overnight (you can hold off on adding the tomatoes if you are refrigerating it overnight.)

Just before serving, peel and dice avocado; add to marinated ingredients along with a handful or two of crushed Frito corn chips.  Gently toss to coat and serve.  Makes 6-8 small side servings.  Can be doubled for a larger crowd.

Note:  While this recipe can and should be started ahead of time, it is definitely a "serve immediately" kind of dish - the avocado and crushed corn chips don't make for good leftovers.  Make enough to enjoy, and then make it again when you get a hankering for it.  And Pam, if you ever make it to our place for a visit, I'll be happy to make this or any other dish to serve y'all!