This recipe caught my eye as I was poring over the May issue of Saveur Magazine on the flight home. It’s from a feature on Senegal, which is a country that has recently been brought to my awareness by my new friend Bill. Bill has told me stories about his time in Senegal a couple of years ago; Penny de los Santos‘ vibrant, rich photographs of Senegalese cooking and culture brought his stories to life for me.
This salad is not one of the signature Senegalese dishes that Bill described to me, but it seemed fresh, light and simple, which is precisely the kind of food I’ve been craving since gorging myself on Milk Bar treats and white bread sandwiches in New York.
Since I got home, I’ve been mulling over the people and personalities I encountered during my trip. I feel honored to have had the chance to hang out with such fine bloggers. The voices behind each blog rang true; each person was exactly as I had imagined them to be. It was almost like all my favorite characters came to life.
I met so many great people at the Saveur party and on Veronica‘s rooftop that listing them by name seems a futile effort, but thank you to all for being so individually wonderful. Highlights included late night Shack Shack with Alaina, Nicole, Kimberley and Cara, riding the subway to Long Island City with Kasey and chattering away about the realities of food blogging with Sarah, Laura and Yossy. Big thank you to Elizabeth for hailing a cab for this clueless Oklahoma girl in the rain, to my good friend Samee for accompanying me on the trip and to Kyle for being the greatest host and tour guide ever. It was grand.
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2½ limes, juiced)
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup olive oil
- 5 cups cooked black-eyed peas (roughly 3 cups dried peas makes 5 cups cooked, see notes for cooking instructions)
- 10 scallions, roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 serrano peppers or 1 habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cooked brown basmati rice (optional)
- Sliced avocado (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice and parsley. Continue whisking as you slowly drizzle in the olive oil to make a smooth dressing.
- Add the black-eyed peas, scallions, bell pepper, tomato (try not to transfer the tomato juice and seeds to the salad), cucumber, and minced pepper to the bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and use a big spoon to toss the salad. Cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate up to overnight to marinate and meld the flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature. To make this salad a main dish, serve it on top of cooked brown basmati rice and top with avocado slices.
The original recipe called for one cup canola oil, which seemed like way too much oil. I reduced the oil by half and used olive oil instead. You might be able to get away with just ⅓ cup oil.
How to cook black-eyed peas: Pick through 3 cups dried peas to remove debris. Soak overnight in ample water. Drain, rinse and return to a large pot. Cover with water by a few inches (about 9 cups water is ideal) and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, scooping off the white foam from the surface as best you can. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Test the beans for doneness after 20 minutes, they may take up to 45 minutes depending on the age of the beans. You want tender, but not mushy, beans. Add salt during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain the beans and return them to the pot to cool.
Make it tomato free: Omit the cherry/grape tomatoes.