Black-eyed peas are in season! I never used to be a huge fan of them (I love the band, though!) but well the story goes... first I saw these "zipper cream peas" in the store a couple weeks back, and I was like, what the heck is that? Naturally I had to buy them. They were in the produce and setting on the shelf next to black-eyed peas - both sold in a bag for like $2 a piece. I bought the zipper creams and proceeded to google recipes. I found a "Soup Pasta Escarole and Zipper Cream Pea Casserole" recipe though after making it, it was very tasty but didn't seem casserole-ish to me, since there was no cheese or no substance holding the peas all sort of together. It was like peas and some other stuff baked in a dish. I modified some of the ingredients too, so maybe that made a difference. Some of the ingredients included escarole, Kashi 7-whole grain pilaf (I used this instead of pasta because I was making it macrobiotic), and chopped veggies - onions, carrots, scallions, garlic. The Kashi stuff is soooo good! The final product! I am just going to link to the recipe, rather than typing it up here, because it's kind of long! While it was good (I liked the zipper creams) I don't think making it into a casserole was worth it because it took too long for something that really wasn't all that casserole-like. I think it would have been just as tasty to stir-fry the veggies, cook the peas and rice/pilaf and toss it all together sans baking.
Next here is the recipe for black-eyed pea croquettes. You can certainly do this with zipper creams too, since they are very similar.
2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in water to cover
2 Tbl chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbl shoyu (shoyu is Japanese for soy sauce - a higher quality soy sauce technically)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups safflower oil for frying (I used olive oil, and I only put about 1" in the pan not 2 cups!)
½ cup barley malt syrup or rice syrup
1 tbl Dijon mustard
Drain the soaked beans and transfer to a food processor. Add the parsley or cilantro, salt, shoyu, and cumin. Blend until the beans are chopped to fine shreds, but don’t blend them to a pulp. The mixture will be slightly wet but should hold together. Form the bean mixture into something between football and UFO shaped croquettes in the palms of your hands.
[Note - my mixture didn't stay together all that well, and in reading some other people's experiments with this recipe, it all depends in precisely how much water you use, and how long you mix in the Cuisinart. I probably didn't quite mix it long enough.]
Heat 1” of oil in a cast-iron skillet to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To test the oil, drop in a tiny amount of croquette mixture. If it bubbles furiously and rises to the top, the oil is ready. Do not let the oil get so hot that it smokes. You may need to make little adjustments to the heat throughout the cooking process to avoid burning the croquettes.
Place 4 croquettes in the oil and fry for about 4 minutes on each side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried croquettes to a plate lined with paper towels.
To make the dipping sauce, stir together the barley malt syrup and mustard in a small saucepan. Warm the sauce until it bubbles.
Serve the croquettes while still hot. Drizzle with the dipping sauce or serve it alongside in a dipping bowl.
The photo at the top of the page is the croquettes cooking in my cast iron skillet (I bought it recently - they're cheap! - because apparently the nonstick coating on pans is really bad for you. Good ol cast iron is a trusty friend. I grew up with my dad using it, but have never had my own. Now I do.) The photo of the croquettes in the container is the final product. They were quite good - even the kids liked them. OK I take that back - Savi liked them and Sam didn't.