Here is another dish I made out at the beach house for everyone. I am on a big black-eyed peas kick right now (and no, I am not referring to the terrible pop group). I made that Hoppin’ John Salad, not too long ago, which is an Southern tradition brought over from Africa, so, I was surprised to see the beans used in this Greek style salad, as I most definitely think of the South when I think of black-eyed peas. Being a Greek girl, that loves ALL Greek foods, I was excited to try this variation on the classic Greek flavors that I know and it really sounded like the perfect side for an outdoor dinner. Even my cousin Andrea, who doesn’t like beans typically, told me she liked this salad. SCORE!
I was also super excited about using the sun-dried tomatoes preserved in oil, since I always buy them dry and have been looking for an excuse to experiment with these. You won’t want to use the dry ones in this recipe, as you need to be able to slice them and you need the oil in the salad. You can definitely use fresh tomatoes, if you have those on hand, just add a little bit of olive oil to the salad. Since I have so much fresh oregano in my yard, I did add a bunch of fresh chopped oregano to the salad, I really couldn’t resist as it was a perfect match.
I really would prefer to be cooking with dried black-eyed peas, but I have yet to find them locally, so I have been using canned beans. I went ahead and posted the recipe using the dried beans, since that is what I would prefer. If you are substituting canned black-eyed peas for the dry peas, use approximately two 15-ounce cans. Rinse thoroughly. Skip step 1 and step 3 in the instructions. Another tip from Elise on this recipe: Don’t add the lemon juice until you serve the salad: It helps keep the greens bright.
2 cups dry black-eyed peas
1 package of feta cheese, about 7 ounces
1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, about 8 ounces, sliced
1 cup black olives, preferably Kalamata or oil-cured, roughly chopped
1 finely chopped green onion
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1/2 cup fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1 large bunch of baby spinach, about 1 pound, washed, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt to make the water taste like the sea. Turn the heat down to low and add the black-eyed peas. Let them cook slowly, uncovered, until they are done, anywhere from half and hour to an hour, depending on how old the peas are. Don’t let the water simmer.
2. Add the spinach to a large bowl. Crumble the feta cheese into the bowl and add all the other ingredients except the lemon juice. Mix well.
3. When the black-eyed peas are done, pour them into a colander and spray them with cold water to stop the cooking. Pick through and discard any loose skins or mashed peas; you’ll find a few, but hopefully not many.
4. Add the black-eyed peas to the salad, mix well. Squirt some lemon juice over and top with freshly ground black pepper. Serve.