On my trip to the farmstand last week I purchased some purple hull peas (also known as pink eye peas) and used them to make a summer salad of corn, peas, beans and Vidalia onion with a simple basil dressing. It’s one of those, “use what you have” summer veggie salads. I had fresh jalapeno, basil and tomato from my garden to combine with the veggies I bought at Jaemor Farms.
I like purple hull peas as they have a mild flavor and are good either lightly cooked so they are just al dente, or boiled down so they are starchy and saucy.
To cook them al dente, place them in a saucepan and cover with two inches of water. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 25 to 35 minutes, or to the level of doneness you want. Drain if any water is left, then salt and pepper them.
To cook them down to starchy, saucy goodness, continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes. Add water or other liquid as they cook to keep them from drying out. Chicken or veggie broth would be good, or water (pot likker) from cooking greens. Add chopped greens or veggies for flavor and salt, pepper and butter or cream at the end to season.
Shelling them is fun too! Just grab the pod at the top and split it with your fingers, then pop them out into a bowl as you pull open the pod. There is something relaxing about sling-shotting them and hearing the plunk of the beans as they drop into the bowl.
Get the kids or other family members involved in helping you shell them. You can even make a game out of it by putting paper on the floor and having a distance contest to see who can make their beans fly the farthest!
After shelling them, you’ll want to pull out any peas that appear diseased, or malformed and discard them. Also, if there are any peas that have dried to the point of becoming seed, pull those out and put them away to use as seed for next summer. Those will be evident by the rattling sound they make while they are still in the pod.
I also purchased some half runner beans and used them in the salad too. To prep these, simply rinse them and trim the tails (pulling the strings down and off), then cut into one inch pieces.
To cook trimmed half runner beans, place them in a saucepan with just enough water the steam them (don’t cover the beans all the way with water). Bring to boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for just 15 to 20 minutes.
Summer Corn & Pea Salad
2 cups fresh cooked corn off the cobb
2 cups fresh cooked purple hull peas
2 cups fresh cooked half runner beans
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh jalapeno pepper
Toss gently in a serving bowl and mix in the:
1/4 cup of fresh, rinsed basil leaves
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
pinch sugar or honey
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and freshly cracked black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/4 cup olive oil
Place all vinaigrette ingredients in blender and puree to mix.
Refrigerate the dressed salad until ready to serve.
To serve the salad, garnish with a chiffonade of fresh basil and some whole fresh basil leaves. If you’re worried about tomatoes going mushy in the salad, leave them out until ready to serve and then mix them in before adding your garnishes.