Black-eyed Pea and Bacon Crostini (plus fresh cherry recipe ideas)

I’ve fallen off the blogging grid. Not from lack of cooking – grilling/entertaining season is at its peak – but from taking the time for studious recipe notation and accompanying photographs. For instance, the Feta-stuffed Lamb Burgers with Tzadziki and Beet Relish I made last week were masterful. But the photograph I dashed off  looked more like a UFO landing than a burger.

Edamame Cups with Wasabi Caviar

Edamame Cups with Wasabi Caviar

I did, however, manage to take a decent  photograph of crostini with a black-eyed pea spread.

Always on the prowl for (reasonably) “healthyish” munchies, I’ve long been a fan of economical bean dips. Edamame dip spreads, stuffed into a cucumber cup or spread over rice crackers, Dal Makhani (Black Lentil Bean Dip) served with chapatis or flatbread, Fava Bean Spreads on bruschetta… (Since writing that blog, I’ve noticed frozen lava beans at Trader Joe’s; not as flavorful as fresh, but  they save a good bit of time.) And of course there’s hummus. What’s not to love about hummus? Especially when it’s scratch-made, using fresh squeezed lemons, tahini, chick peas and garlic.

Coarsely smashing black-eyed peas to a spreadable consistency.

Coarsely smashing black-eyed peas to a spreadable consistency.

It’s hard to describe the flavor of a black-eyed pea. Maybe akin to a pinto bean? The meaty peas certainly have an affinity to bacon. They haven’t ventured far from the American South until recently; now I see them often, dotting a relish, in savory fried cakes, or as a simple side. The following recipe was inspired by a recipe I make for Hop ‘n John. Several months ago a friend made a black-eyed pea dip, as prelude to dinner, which she served warm. It was so good with the melted Jack cheese; I’ll beg that recipe soon.

I served the following recipe spread over basic crostini, which can be made well in advance. I followed the recipe, seasoning the crostini with thyme. The dip’s best served slightly warm, or at room temperature.

Local Forecast: Michigan black cherries are as good as they’re gonna get, Traverse City farmers telling me they’ll keep picking them for another 3 weeks. Here are some great recipes using their bounty: Cherry Gazpacho, Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Sauce, Cherry-Quinoa Pilaf, Goat Cheese-Fresh Cherry Crostini.

Recipe: Crostini with Black-Eyed Peas and Bacon


  • 1/2 pound dry black-eyed peas*
  • Bay leaf
  • White sugar**
  • 3-4 raw pieces bacon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1-2 ripe tomatoes, chopped

*Soak, simmer and sit time can be radically reduced by using frozen or canned peas.

**A bit of sugar brings out their natural sweetness, but you don’t want the peas to taste  sugar sweet. Make sense?


  1. Rinse dry peas, picking out and discarding cracked or yellowed. Soak 6-24 hours in cold water.
  2. In a large pot, combine soaked peas, fresh salted water to cover peas by 2 inches, bay leaf, and a teaspoon of sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, with lid slightly ajar, until peas are almost tender, 40-75 minutes, depending on heat and age of peas used. Turn off heat, cover pot, and (if time allows) let peas sit in cooking liquid 1-2 hours until tender and creamy, but not overly soft and mushy. Drain and place in a bowl. With a fork or potato masher, smash peas until they are a spreadable consistency, but still somewhat coarse.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan, fry bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels and reserve.
  4. Whisk together oil and vinegar. Discard bay leaf from peas and toss peas with cider vinaigrette, scallions (reserving some for garnish) and reserved bacon. Season to taste with kosher salt, cayenne and thyme. If desired, add a pinch of additional sugar, to balance the acidity.
  5. Spread mixture over crostini and garnish with scallions and chopped tomatoes.

Number of servings (yield): 3 cups (2 dozen crostini)

Active Time (if crostini are made): 40 minutes

Soak Time (if using dried beans): 6-24 hours

Simmer Time: 45-70 minutes

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.




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