M: Where have these been all my life? Only in the South, home of all things fried, would it occur to someone to deep fry black-eyed peas. The results are spectacular. Crispy, textured, and spiced with seafood seasoning and salt, they are eaten as one might snack on popcorn – by the handful and with difficulty stopping.
If this salty snack has a history of consequence in southern cuisine, I can’t find it. I first found the deep fried delicacy in a restaurant called Relish here in Raleigh. I was immediately hooked. Imagine my delight when, just a few weeks later, I stumbled upon them again, this time in what has become one of my favorite restaurants here in the Triangle, Beasley’s Chicken and Honey. Served in mason jars, they make one heck of a bar snack and pair perfectly with an cold beer (lucky thing they had plenty of that too).
This recipe isn’t exactly what I had at either restaurant, but it’s in the ball park. The hardest part is waiting a day for the peas to soak, so no one is going to blame you if you start with frozen instead of dried (just thaw them and pick things up at step 2). Err to the side of frying longer to make sure you get the light and crispy texture that makes these so darn good.
Recipe: Deep Fried Black-Eyed Peas
Summary: Deep fried and tossed in seafood seasoning, black-eyed peas are transformed into a distinctly southern bar snack.
- 4 cups dried black eyed peas
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 jalapeño, sliced lengthwise and seeded
- Canola oil for frying
- 3 teaspoons seafood seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Soak beans overnight, then drain and rinse.
- Simmer beans, onion and jalapeño in a covered pot of water 35-45 minutes until tender.
- Drain beans, remove onion and jalapeño and let beans rest to dry or pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat oil in a pot to 375 degrees.
- Gently pour beans into oil and deep fry for 7-8 minutes, until crisp.
- Toss with seafood seasoning and salt.