I cooked up ten different recipes for the Friday the 13th Dinner Party and this appetizer was one of the favorites. At least half of the guests asked if it was on the blog. I assured them it would be posted this week, so we might as well start off the week(s) worth of recipes with it.
I had hoped to serve 13 items, but I could only get to 12 before I ran out of time and energy to pull off the last one. In addition to the ten I actually made, I also served grapes, 12 per person for luck, and put out purchased fortune cookies on the dessert table.
The base for this salsa recipe is black-eyed peas. For many southerners, consuming this inexpensive legume on the first day of the new year is believed to bring wealth.
According to Wikipedia: “Two popular explanations for the South’s association with the peas and good luck dates back to the Civil War. The first is associated with Gen. William T. Sherman’s Union Army’s March to the Sea, during which they pillaged the food supplies of the Confederates. Stories say peas and salted pork were said to be left untouched because of the belief that they were animal food and not fit for human consumption. Southerners considered themselves lucky to be left with some supplies to help them survive the winter, and black-eyed peas evolved into a representation of good luck. In other traditions, it was a symbol of emancipation for African-Americans who had previously been enslaved before the civil war who became free officially on New Years Day.”
Black-Eyed Pea Salsa
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas (see note)
- 3 cups diced tomatoes
- 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- 2 ripe but still firm avocados, diced
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- Tortilla chips, for serving
In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon zest and juice, honey, garlic and oregano. Whisk in the olive oil, taste and season with salt and pepper.
Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, except the avocado and cilantro, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours. Thirty minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the avocado and cilantro and then bring back to room temperature for 30 minutes and toss just before serving.
Serve with tortilla chips.
NOTE: Sort through and rinse a 1-pound package of dry black-eyed peas. Place in a large pot and cover with enough cold water to cover peas by at least 4-inches, let sit at room temperature overnight.
In the morning, drain the peas and rinse well. Return to pot and cook according to package directions. I like to add fresh herb sprigs and freshly ground black pepper to the pot.
When done cooking, drain well and remove the herb sprig stems.
The 1-pound package makes enough to make this salsa and a black-eyed pea hummus – the recipe for which will be posted in the days to come.
Or if you prefer, you could skip the hummus (and the need for a food processor) and make a double batch of salsa!