Grub Americana

The Painter’s Black-Eyed Pea Cakes

Black eyed pea cakes

Recipe makes about 12 cakes.

Whatcha Need:

1 slice bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 whole garlic cloves, plus 2 cloves, minced
1 pound fresh black-eyed peas
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups panko or fresh French bread crumbs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
Comeback Sauce (recipe below)

Whatcha Do:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Add the whole garlic cloves; cook 1 minute more. Add peas and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain peas; discard garlic. Transfer half the peas to a large bowl, and mash them (with a potato masher or the back of a spoon) into a chunky puree.
  2. Add the remaining peas, minced garlic, onion, peppers, parsley, basil, cayenne, salt and cream. Mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  3. With damp hands, form the mixture into 12 patties, about 3/4-inch thick. Set aside.
  4. Set up an assembly line to prep the pea cakes. Put the flour into a shallow dish. Then, grab a small bowl for the egg and buttermilk, and beat with a fork to combine. Next, put the bread crumbs into a shallow dish. Coat each cake with flour, then dip into the egg mixture, and pat the cake in bread crumbs. Coat all the cakes, and set them aside.
  5. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  6. In a skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Working in batches, fry the cakes for 3 minutes on each side or until toasty brown. Place them on the rack to drain and cool. (If your oil gets dark, pour it out, wipe your skillet with a paper towel, and add fresh butter and oil for the remaining cakes.)
  7. Serve the cakes with Comeback Sauce, greens and sliced tomatoes.

Comeback Sauce

Recipe makes 1 pint

Whatcha Need:

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup salad oil
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1 small onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced

Whatcha Do:

In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients. Process until smooth. Refrigerate for up to one week.

Adapted from Martha Hall Foose's Screen Doors and Sweet Tea.