This recipe from Charleston brothers Matt Lee and Ted Lee appeared in their "Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes With Down-Home Flavor" cookbook of 2009. Any variety of field peas will work here.
Field Pea Salad With Gingered Beets and Lemon
4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 pound fresh or 8 ounces dried shelled field peas, such as red cowpeas, lady peas, pink-eyes, black-eyes, purple hulls, crowders or zippers
1 pound fresh red beets, peeled, trimmed and cut into small dice (2 to 3 cups)
1 (3-ounce) piece of fresh ginger (about 4 inches long), peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup grapeseed, peanut, vegetable or mild olive oil
1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), chopped (3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pour 2 quarts water into a heavy-bottomed 4-quart stockpot, add 2 teaspoons of the salt, and bring to a boil. Rinse the field peas in a strainer or colander, and add them to the boiling water. Cook until the peas are tender, maintaining the level of the cooking water just above the peas, about 20 minutes if you're using fresh field peas and 1 hour if using dried.
While the peas cook, pour 1 quart water into a small saucepan, add 1 teaspoon of the salt, and bring to a boil. Add the beets and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and run them under cold tap water to cool. Then arrange the beets in a single layer on paper towels spread across a cutting board, and let them dry while the peas finish cooking.
Grate the ginger onto a cutting board, using a ginger grater or microplane. Set aside teaspoon of the grated ginger. Gather the rest of the grated ginger and place it in a mound in the middle of a double thickness of paper towel. Pick up the corners of the paper towel and gently press the grated ginger over a small bowl to extract the juice; you should have about 2 tablespoons. Pour the ginger juice into a large bowl and add the lemon juice, mustard and remaining teaspoon salt. Drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly until the dressing is emulsified.
Drain the peas in a strainer and run them under cold tap water to cool; you should have about 3 cups cooked field peas. Shake the strainer to get rid of excess water. Add the peas and the reserved grated ginger to the dressing, and toss to coat. Add the beets and scallions, and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and the pepper. (Covered, the salad will keep in the refrigerator for three days.)
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