My Mama and I were thinking about what we’d contribute to Thanksgiving this year (my husband and I take turns on where we spend the holidays and this year we were at the Bensons’ house). Mama and I pondered. We knew we would contribute Sweet Potato Casserole as we always do (see previous post as to why and just cover your eyes when you get to the butter part), but we wanted to take some sort of salad. That’s when Mama went waaaaaay back and offered this suggestions: English Pea Salad.
Now, I grew up seeing English Pea salad at family gatherings and on the Morrison’s Cafeteria line (folks from Columbus, GA will recognize that name), but I never felt the overwhelming need to try it. When Mama started listing off the ingredients, I quickly realized that if I liked pimento cheese (uh, yep), egg salad (dingdingding), and english peas (done and done), bacon (duh)…then I might just need to give the English Pea Salad a try.
From everything I read, this is a totally Southern thing so don’t be alarmed Northern friends. You know how we do. In fact, Homesick Texan wrote THIS post about English Pea Salad, which I thought was great!
So here’s the adapted version (Mama directed)
English pea salad
2 10 oz bags of of frozen English peas (can be either fresh or frozen)
Quick note: Mama says her Mama used LeSeur canned peas. So many choices, but I’m sticking with frozen.
6 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used Fudge Farms bacon I got from Freshfully)
1/4 of a small sweet onion, finely minced
1/2 cup diced celery (one stalk)
3/4 cup of sharp cheddar, shredded (I shredded it because I got in the pimento cheese mode and Mama was taking care of Martin Everitt. She came in and was all, “uh, I usually cube them.” Note to self: Cube ’em next time.)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (might have to use a little more to get it to the consistency you want)
Pinch of cayenne
Salt to taste
Rinse your peas (do not cook, either fresh or frozen) and then mix all ingredients together. Chill for a few hours and serve. Remember that this is all to taste and you’ll need to play with the recipe to get it the way you prefer. Other recommendations: Cayenne, Paprika (Mama really wanted some paprika on it and I forgot), diced shallots, green onions, etc. Just go with your gut and try different things each time. Serve over a bed of lettuce, in a bowl, or on a platter.
P.S. My one-year-old liked this dish too… (S-C-O-R-E)