Green is for Spring….and for Collard-Black Eyed Pea Salad

I am so lucky to have a dear friend who shares my foodie obsessions. She always brings me treats from her various travels – this time from California she brought an assortment of citrus fruits (Tahoe Gold tangerines rocked my world!) and a bag of lovely pale green heirloom black eyed peas from The Elegant Bean in Lodi, CA. They cooked beautifully, keeping an easter egg color after they cooked. I wanted to keep the green theme, so I made them into a spring salad with raw collards and a sherry vinaigrette.

-16oz dry black eyed peas (2 cups)
– 3 cups baby collards, middle rib removed
– 2 green onions
– 1 cup parsley
– 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 4 slices pickled jalapeno
– 2 tablespoons capers
– 1/4 cup chopped green olives
– 1 orange, peel/pith removed, segments diced
– 1 lime, peel/pith removed, segments diced small
– salt, pepper

Soak the beans overnight in cold water, drain. Cook in fresh water or stock to cover, with whatever aromatics you have on hand – I used parsley stems, rosemary, shallots, and bay leaves. After 2 hours, test for tenderness – beans should be tender but not mushy for this salad. Add salt and a dash of olive oil, stir and let sit so the salt can soak into the beans. Always add salt to beans at the end of cooking, as salt can toughen up the beans if added at the beginning.
Drain the beans – keeping the liquid – it’s delish! I added about a cup of the cooked beans to it and called it lunch…
In a food processor, coarsely puree the remaining ingredients, except for the capers, olives and citrus. Add puree to drained beans, fold in the capers, olives and citrus. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I’m inclined to add some sardines to this salad and serve over a bed of lettuce, but I’ll hold off as my foodie friend is sadly allergic to seafood, and I hope to share some of this with her. I imagine it would be great with some cooked quinoa mixed in or topped with any grilled meat or seafood. Enjoy!

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