This salad is the type of side dish that sits alone at the BBQ untouched because it looks really weird. Then, someone brave enough to try it gets the ball rolling by yelling “holy shit, who made this pea thing, and what in the hell is in it”?
I love food that makes people swear.
It gets kind of awkward at church picnics though.
I first tried this dish at my mother-in-law’s house, and then promptly asked for the recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever been so confused when receiving a recipe before. The ingredients/directions called for “three chukahs of cumin”.
The recipe was given to my mother-in-law by her friend Florence who loves to sprinkle her speech with familial Yiddish phrases. I asked all my Jewish and shiksa friends alike, and not a one knew what in the hell a chukah meant.
So, we guessed that it meant “shakes”, as in “three shakes of cumin”, and went with it. Worked out great. And oy, this dish is amazing!
Word to the wise, make this dish the day before you want to serve it. It gives the flavors a chance to meld together, and um, it is a dish you can make the night before a party, or a big family meal. What’s not to love about that?
Florence’s Smokey Pea Salad
12 oz frozen peas. Do not thaw them beforehand!
3 “chukahs” (shakes) of ground cumin
3 green onions, sliced
1 can of water chestnuts, drained
1 cup of smoked almonds
Mayo to taste
1) In a food processor, pulse the almonds until the pieces are small. Please make sure you chop the almonds before the water chestnuts. You’ll thank me when you have fewer dishes to do. Empty the almonds in to a mixing bowl.
2) In the same food processor, pulse the water chestnuts until the pieces are small and uniform. Empty them in to the mixing bowl with the almonds.
3) Slice the green onions, and dump them in to the mixing bowl as well.
4) Add the peas in to the bowl.
5) Add your ambiguous amount of cumin on top.
6) Add mayo bit by bit until you’re satisfied there is enough in there. I think the original recipe called for 1.5 cups, but I really hate mayo, and usually only use about 1/2 cup plus a little bit more.
7) Mix thoroughly, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
This dish looks weird. It sounds weird, but it tastes freaking amazing. Weird and delicious is totally my bag.
And now it’s yours!