Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lulu's L.A. Caviar , aka Black Eyed Pea Salad


3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup splenda (Lucy uses sugar, but in my world, we gotta substitute. )
2 teaspoons salt - kosher is best
1 teaspoon coursely ground black pepper
1 tsp GREEN tabasco sauce (or Lulu's Clearly Crazy hot sauce - don't use Lulu's green sauce unless you want a chemical peel on your tongue. Lucy's recipe doesn't have this in it, but since I use Splenda, I added it to add a little zing)

Peas and Veggies Mixture:
4- 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously to dissolve splenda ( or sugar) Set aside. Place peas in a large glass or stainless-steel bowl. Add all bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and parsley. Pour dressing over top and toss well. Transfer to a plastic container, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with tortilla chips or saltine crackers.

1. If you are making this ahead of time to take to a gathering, I would leave the bell peppers in a separate container until about an hour before you leave to go. The balsamic seems to zap the colors of the beautiful peppers a bit if left in the dressing over night. The peas, on the other hand, seem to be even better when left to wallow overnight.
2. I have had thoughts about adding a tsp of finely minced jalapeno and leaving out the hot sauce. I haven't done it yet, but I may in the future.
3. If your grocery doesn' t keep the fancy colored peppers, don't sweat it. Just use the green ones and use extra cherry tomatoes. This time I used a whole green bell pepper and a whole yellow one and just added some extra tomato to balance out the color.
4. I use Bush's purple hull peas when I make this because I feel like they hold up the best. Be careful and read the label on your peas because you can get canned, cooked DRIED peas and they are a totally different texture. If you have fresh or frozen peas, just simmer in some salted water with a couple of boullion cubes til tender. Best ever is with fresh peas.
5. Use good Balsamic and olive oil. It does make a difference, so skip the $1.99 bottles and get the good quality stuff. You will be able to use it in other things. This dressing is good on a spinach salad with pecans, apple , red onion, and gorgonzola or feta cheese. ( Try it)
6. I made this for the family reunion yesterday, and brought home the leftovers. Today I had a couple of tablespoons of it in a whole wheat pita with one grilled chicken tender and some spring salad greens. Yummy!

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