We like the Southern tradition of eating some black-eyed peas and greens for good luck on New Year’s. Every year, I try to feature these elements in a menu, and this time the peas appear in a sprightly honey-mustard dressed salad that is served atop the greens, along with a basket of warm mini corn muffins.
They can also be part of a great buffet spread that might include a spiral-sliced ham, mustard sauce, pears with gorgonzola cheese, French bread and pate, assorted cured olives and a platter of finger food desserts.
HOPPIN’ JOHN SALAD ON GREENS
We can’t get fresh black-eyed peas here in New England, but frozen peas are the next-best thing. If you can’t find them, cooked dried peas or even peas from a can, rinsed and drained, work fine too. Serves six as part of a buffet.
SPICY HONEY-MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE:
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon liquid hot pepper sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup vegetable oil
One 10-ounce package frozen black-eyed peas or one 16-ounce can, rinsed and drained (see note)
¾ cup thinly sliced celery
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into slivers
1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into slivers
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped parsley
About 3 cups arugula or other dark, bitter greens
For the dressing, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce and garlic. Whisk in the oil. Cover and refrigerate. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead.)
In a medium-large bowl, toss black-eyed peas with the celery, red and yellow pepper, onion and most of the parsley. Drizzle with enough dressing to moisten, and toss gently. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 6 hours.
When ready to serve, taste beans and add a bit more dressing if they seem at all dry. Spread arugula out onto a platter or shallow bowl, heap salad over, and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
NOTE: Or soak ½ pound dried peas overnight, drain, and simmer in plenty of salted water until just tender (30 to 45 minutes or longer, depending on the age of the beans). Use 2 cups of the beans for this recipe.
DOUBLE CORN MINI MUFFINS
The creamed corn adds nuggets of corn and a pleasant creaminess. This recipe will also make 12 standard-size muffins or one 9-inch square pan of cornbread. Makes 24 muffins.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
One 8½-ounce can creamed corn
½ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease two dozen mini muffin cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the creamed corn, milk, egg and oil. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour the corn mixture in. Stir just until all ingredients are evenly moistened.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake in the preheated oven until risen and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.
(Can be baked up to two weeks ahead and frozen in air-tight freezer bags. Rewarm, wrapped in foil, in a 325-degree oven for about 5 minutes.)
Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “The New England Clam Shack Cookbook” (Storey, 2008). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula.