Sunday, June 22, 2014

#MeatlessMondays: Lucky Black Eyed Pea Salad

Reinforcement in my eyes is a good thing. One can never have too much faith, prayer, good fortune, opportunity, love, or clean underwear (not necessarily in that order).  This applies to good omen foods as well. It is my thought that any food purported to deliver prosperity and luck throughout the year when eaten on the first day of the year should be eaten as many times during the year and in as many forms as possible.
Especially, if that food is one as rich in history, folklore, and vitamins as the black eyed pea.
Just in time for BBQ season and mid-year reinforcement of that Hop ‘n John you should have devoured on New Year’s Day, is this black eyed pea salad.
Black eyed peas are of the world’s oldest domesticated crops. It is believed that the first formal growing of these legumes occurred in West Africa. Black eyed peas have been found in Egyptian tombs, and are also consumed in abundance by populations of many Asian countries. It is thought that the bean of the black eyed pea was introduced to the Islands of the West Indies from Central Africa, and then traveled from there to the Southern United States and in to the Carolinas by way of the Slave Trade.
The most commonly associated black eyed pea is a pale creamed colored pea with a pronounced black dot located on the pea where it would have connected itself to the bean pod.
The actual good luck tradition of eating Happy New Year’s black eyed peas is a bit greyed in areas that cross between history and folklore. A common theory amongst Southern Blacks is that traditionally these peas were to have been good luck in West Africa having known to be able to survive often difficult growing conditions.  This theory is believed to have crossed with those that survived the Middle Passage and remained a tradition with those enslaved to be passed down through generations.  Some also believe that this tradition started with Egyptian Jews, and others celebrating Rosh Hashanah. The theory is that Jews ate black-eyed peas during their New Year celebrations because the peas are called Rubya, which relates to the Hebrew word Rov meaning: a lot, many. This tradition is said to have migrated with Sephardic Jews that settled into Georgia and the Carolinas, which gave influence to slave New Year celebrations. Another account dates this tradition back to the Civil War as black-eyed peas are often called cow peas or field peas. These foods were considered to be food for the livestock. When General Sherman’s troops invaded and pillaged the food supplies of the Confederate South, Union soldiers regarded as these peas as animal feed and left them behind in the fields. The remaining Confederate citizens were said to have survived by eating this crop. In the end, they purported to have considered themselves lucky to have had a diet mainly comprised of these foods, and as such, the peas became a symbol of luck.
Not to be outdone by history or tall tales, black eyed peas are very healthy legumes; they are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron. They are low in calorie and fat and fully equipped with vitamins A, C, and K.

So even if you don’t subscribe to black eyes peas bringing you and yours a year full of prosperity and luck, may this fantastic salad bring you all continued health!
Black Eyed Pea Salad
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
The Madness: The Ingredients
The Salad
1 29oz can of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
4 small carrots, sliced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 large serrano pepper, deseeded and finely diced
½ medium poblano, deseeded and finely diced
½ small orange pepper, deseeded and finely diced
½ small red pepper, deseeded and finely diced
½ medium long green Italian pepper, deseeded and finely diced
1 pint container of small grape tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 pickled pepperoncini  
1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves
2 small fresh sage leaves
1/2 tbs of kosher salt or favorite AP seasoning (optional)
The Dressing
small 1 cup Mason jar
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of light brown sugar
a splash of pickled pepperoncini brine
1 clove of minced garlic
½ tsp of spicy brown mustard
The Method: The Assembly
Wash, dry, and prepare vegetables according to ingredient listing. Combine prepared vegetables in a large mixing bowl.  Toss to combine.
In a separate medium bowl or small Mason jar, combine dressing ingredients. Seal Mason jar or whisk dressing ingredients until well combined.
 Keeping it Real Disclosure:
In order to preserve the crunch integrity of the salad vegetables, we dressed our salad at each serving, according to our own tastes. This also allowed for a longer storage life of the leftovers. If you’re serving the salad to a crowd and would like to have a more marinated bean salad, feel free to toss in the amount of dressing according to your personal taste and allow the salad to store in the refrigerator for up to 6 – 8 hours before serving.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like such a delicious Black Eye Pea Salad! Love all those peppers in there and a little additional luck is always a good thing. The history of foods is always so fascinating to me.