Saladu Ñebbe: Black-Eyed Pea Salad

My imaginary best friends at The Bitten Word, Clay and Zach, posted this recipe today, and I knew I had to try it. The selling point to me was the Scotch Bonnet chile pepper; I have socked away many from last year’s crop — probably enough to blow up a small country. These babies are H-O-T hot and need to be handled with extreme care. However, don’t let that scare you. The dish itself really isn’t all that powerfully hot. Spread throughout five cups of black-eyed peas and lots of fresh onions, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, the pepper’s heat is diffused down to the level of a pleasant little kick.

I did make a couple of modifications shown in parentheses below. For starters, I could not abide by one whole cup of oil. I realize you serve this with a slotted spoon and all of the oil isn’t consumed, but — competitive dieting or not — I just couldn’t use that much oil. Will I eat six pieces of bacon? Yes. Will I make a recipe using one whole cup of oil? Never. Don’t try to figure me out.

The subject of canola oil is one of hot debate. I considered posting a couple links, but it’s probably better for you to do your own research. Besides, I’m not looking to fight with the powerful canola lobby. I used olive oil because it just felt like the right thing to do. I won’t judge you if you choose to use one whole cup of canola oil, though.

This is a dish from Senegal, which gives it lots of exotic food cred. “Oh, sure, I’ll just bring my Senegalese bean salad to your picnic. It’s fabulous! Senegalese food is my favorite.”

Saladu Ñebbe, (Black-Eyed Pea Salad), Saveur, May 2012, Original Recipe here

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 cup roughly chopped parsley
1 cup canola oil (or 1/2 cup olive oil)
5 cups cooked black-eyed peas (about 3 cans)
10 scallions, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1 medium tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped (8 – 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered)
1 medium cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
1 habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced (I kept the seeds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice and parsley. While whisking, drizzle in the canola oil to make a smooth dressing.

2. Add the black-eyed peas, scallions, bell pepper, tomato, cucumber, and chile to the dressing. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate up to overnight to marinate and meld the flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Wondering if any astute readers can catch what’s wrong with this picture?

Part of my hot pepper arsenal

Bean Salad + Senegal = Awesome

Dawn’s Hot-Cha-Cha Sauce

This year I’ve found myself with an abundance of Scotch Bonnet peppers from my garden. Hot sauce lover that I am, I decided it was time to finally attempt some hot sauce of my own. But first I needed to get over my life-long fear of botulism in order to jar my own homemade hot sauce. A little googling made me feel somewhat confident that I can do this. If not, it was nice knowing ya!

I have a very high tolerance for hot and spicy food (very, very high, perhaps freakishly high), so please heed my warning that this sauce is H O T hot, even for me, and adjust the recipe accordingly. I took all the elements from my favorite bottled sauces and tried to incorporate them into this recipe, and I’m very pleased with the flavor. Well, once I could feel my tongue again, I was pleased with the flavor. I also made this same recipe using jalapenos, and we enjoyed it over fish and rice.

Dawn’s Hot-Cha-Cha Sauce

20 – 30 Habañero or Scotch Bonnet peppers, or hot peppers of your choice

2 cloves garlic, peeled

4 carrots, peeled (note: if you use extra hot peppers, you will NEED all four carrots)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Wearing gloves, cut any stems off of peppers, and add all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until well combined and fairly smooth. Jar or serve and refrigerate after opening.