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Black-eyed Peas Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Cook's Note: While fresh herbs are nothing new to the African-American kitchen, fresh basil is a non-traditional addition to black-eyed peas salad. But no matter -- it sure is good, especially when served with fried chicken. (Don't forget this recipe the next time you need a bean salad for a picnic.) You can use 2 (16-ounce) cans of black-eyed peas, well drained, if you don't cook up your own peas.

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Serves 6

  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 medium onion, halved
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped, fresh basil, or 3/4 tsp dried
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed through a garlic press
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the peas and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, cover tightly, and let stand 1 hour. (Or soak the beans overnight in a large bowl with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch.)

    Drain the peas and return them to the saucepan with enough fresh water to cover by 1 inch. Add the onion halves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the peas are tender, about 45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Drain the beans well, discarding the onion halves. Rinse the beans under cold running water, drain again, and let cool completely.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, basil, garlic, sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil until the basil vinaigrette is smooth.

    In a medium bowl, combine the peas, the chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, and basil vinnaigrette. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.



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