Monday, April 26, 2010

Black Eyed Pea & Ham Salad


Unfortunately, this weekend was not as nice as they had predicted. We had plans set for 2 weeks to hang out with some friends on the lake but Mother Nature decided to her own thing and gave us dreary and wet weather the entire time. We were nothing short of disappointed, to say the least, but we made the most of it and still hung out together and as usual, we had a great weekend with them!

In addition to our lake plans, I had high hopes of grilling out and making this recipe for a nice, summery salad I recently heard about! But, yet again, my plans were foiled. However, I did not let Mother Nature get me on all accounts, so I still decided to make this salad and we cooked inside instead. I am SO glad I made this recipe because it was so much better than what I anticipated!

Since moving to the South, I have quickly become a fan of Black Eyed Peas. If you've never had them, I highly recommend you try them sometime (I think most of you would probably enjoy them)! Despite their name, they're not peas. Not at all. They're more like a bean and a great source of protein! I think they're delicious and I usually have them warm but this salad is a refreshing way to eat them and a great pairing with practically any entree you make during these warm Spring and Summer months!

The dressing base for this salad is vinegar and I'm not a fan of the flavor of vinegar, so while I was excited to try the dish, I was also a little nervous because I wasn't sure how that flavor would come across. Honestly, I couldn't taste the vinegar at all! It was really light and the crunch of the celery and onion provided a nice texture blended with the peas and ham. And the flavors of garlic and parsley were a great accompaniment! I improvised a bit on this recipe because I didn't realize until half-way into making it, that I was out of a couple of ingredients, but nonetheless, it turned out wonderfully and both Chris and I were pleased with the addition of a new side dish to eat this year!  He even referred to it as being "the flea's knees!"  If you remember, he said this dish was "the bee's knees" so he changed it up to fleas....whatever that means!  I'll take it as a compliment though!

Black Eyed Pea & Ham Salad

1 cup Dried Black Eyed Peas, sorted and rinsed
1 cup Cooked Ham, cubed
1/2 Sm. Red Onion, diced
2 stalks Celery, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes
2 1/2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped

Add the peas to a large pot of boiling water and cook, over high heat, for 30 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the ham, onion and celery; mix well. Add in the cooled peas along with the garlic, red pepper flakes, vinegar, oil and parsley. Toss to combine and let set to bring to room temperature before serving.

Note: I actually used 2 Tbsp. of Red Pepper Flakes and it was pretty hot (even for us) so I would cut back to at least 1 1/2 Tbsp. or less depending on how much heat you like in your dishes! Jalapeno peppers would be a great source for heat instead as well!

Yield: 4 Servings
Source: Adapted from Oishii


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