Hoppin' John Fritters with Cayenne Aioli
2 cups dried black-eyed peas* or 4 cans (14.5 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and firmly diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup cooked white rice, cooled
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 to 3 ounces thyme sprigs, leaves picked
1/2 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 smoked chipotle chile in adobo, minced (see Tips)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
*PREPARE THE BLACK-EYED PEAS. If you’re using dried peas, wash and drain them, put them in a pot, and cover with about an inch of fresh water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check the pot during cooking to see if it needs more water. Drain, and set aside to cool.
If you’re using canned black-eyed peas, rinse them under cool water, and drain well.
SAUTÉ THE VEGETABLES. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, red onion, and dried sage (if you’re using it). Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the wine, and stir to remove any bits of vegetables from the bottom of the skillet. Cook until all the wine has evaporated and the mixture is dry. Set aside to cool.
MASH THE BLACK-EYED PEAS. Reserve 2 cups of black-eyed peas to add at the end. Put the remaining peas into the bowl of a mixer. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, mash the peas until they begin to stick together. (You can also do this by hand using a potato masher.)
MAKE THE FRITTER MIX. To the black-eyed peas in the mixer, add the vegetables, rice, herbs (including the fresh sage if you are using it), scallions, chipotle chile, and salt. Mix well. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the fritter mix, and stir for 1 minute. Gently fold in the reserved 2 cups peas, trying to keep some peas whole. Chill the mixture for 30 min before forming into patties.
SHAPE THE FRITTERS. Using 3 tablespoons of the mixture for each fritter, shape it into balls. Gently flatten each ball with your fingertips into a patty about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Smooth out the jagged edges so they don’t break off when you cook them. Lay the patties on an ungreased baking sheet until you’re ready for them.
PANFRY THE PATTIES. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Put several patties in the pan, leaving enough room to flip them easily.
Cook on each side until browned and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Cook the remaining fritters in the same way.
Drain the fritters on paper towels, keeping them warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve.
SERVE THE FRITTERS. Serve 2 or 3 fritters with a dollop of Cayenne Aioli.
CAYENNE AIOLI. Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
If you’re using dried black-eyed peas, soak for at least 2 hours ahead. (It’s also OK to soak them over the night before).
After you make the fritter mix, it needs to chill for 30 minutes. That would be a good time to make the aioli.
As prepared, each serving contains 120 calories, 3.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 620mg sodium, 19g total carbohydrate and 5g protein.