September 4, 2009
I can’t take any credit for this recipe. All of it goes to Veena.
This is one of those dishes that acquires a following, the kind that makes people come back for seconds and beg a recipe card, the kind they start making themselves and hooking others onto. Like those charts they showed us in high school about how quickly & widely an STD can spread, only far less terrifying.
There’s nothing unlikeable about this dish (I know, Emma, I can hear you protesting—go ahead and leave out the capers, okay?)
a) You can make it ahead of time, in fact, in tastes much, much better that way.
b) It lasts an incredibly long time in the fridge.
c) Works equally well in all seasons.
d) Is dirt cheap.
e) OH YEAH, it’s also crazy-delicious & good for you.
I’ve served this alongside sandwiches and burgers, in the midst of a potluck spread, with pita & hummus, as an easy dinner-party vegetable. I bring it to work on a regular basis because it keeps so darn long and goes with almost anything else I decide on for lunch. This salad is also a great choice to make for a family who is grieving, just had a baby, or is in a similar state of overwhelm—you can provide a healthier counterpoint to the usually carb-and-cheese-laden dishes that tend to be delivered in such circumstances.
My mom’s been making this salad for as long as I can remember; the tradition in our family evolved such that we always had it on New Year’s Day, along with the equally famous shrimp creole (that’s coming this winter, ya’ll, don’t worry) & wild rice. Marinated salad works wonderfully alongside this main course, but also serves another purpose; allowing everyone to fulfill their black-eyed pea quotient in a tasty way.
If you are not familiar with the food commandments down here below the Mason-Dixon line, one very strong and non-negotiable one is that you must eat black eyed peas on the first day of the new year, or face twelve months of bad luck. For kids who were tortured by the taste, the compromise became one bean per month, but I’m pretty sure with this dish, you and/or your kids won’t have any trouble eating more than twelve peas.
MOM’S MARINATED SALAD
This is dead easy to make, I promise you can’t mess it up. Feel free to substitute fresh herbs for the dried or dried beans for the canned. You can also used canned corn instead of fresh, but since corn on the cob is so plentiful, cheap, & delicious right now, I recommend you go that route.
Any combination of beans will work, so throw in what you have on hand (cannelini beans are nice, as are pintos). Make sure not to use any with added salt or flavor. If you normally object to red onion, I heartily encourage you to try it here—the vinegar will cut much of the bite, and it just looks so much prettier than white or yellow would.
1 can each:
dark red kidney beans
garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas)
black eyed peas
2 ears’ worth of fresh corn kernels corn
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
Drain the beans in a large colander & rinse. Transfer to a sizeable bowl, then add corn and artichoke hearts. Heat the following in a small saucepan:
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
Once the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture boils, remove from heat.
½ red onion, very thinly sliced
2 T capers
1 T dried parsley
1 T garlic powder (less if you aren’t a garlic fan)
1 tsp. chives, minced salt & pepper (be generous!)
Let the vinegar mixture sit for about 5 minutes, then pour over the vegetables. Mix thoroughly and then drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil. For the best taste, allow to sit on room temperature for 1 hour before serving or storing in the fridge for future use.
*If you want to use fresh green beans, you’ll need to blanch them first.