Mashed Black-Eyed Peas with Garlic Pureé

This recipe, adapted from one in Diane Kochila's "The Glorious Foods of Greece," comes from the island of Limnos. The beans are cooked and mashed with a garlicky pureé. I like to add a little cumin to the mix. Serve these as a comforting supper, on toasted thick slices of country bread, or as a starter, with pita or thin toasted rounds of baguette.

For the Black-Eyed Peas
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1  onion, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1  bay leaf
For the Garlic Pureé
4  plump or 8 smaller garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon {salt} (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground {cumin}
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more to taste)
Make the black-eyed peas: Place the black-eyed peas in a medium saucepan or soup pot and cover by 2 inches with water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam. Add the halved onion, crushed garlic cloves, and bay leaf. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon), cover, and continue to simmer until the beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Make the garlic pureé: While the beans are cooking, crush the whole garlic cloves, one at a time, in a mortar and pestle along with the salt, cumin, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When all of the garlic has been crushed, begin drizzling in the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice, alternating the two and stirring all the while with the pestle, until you have a smooth paste. It will be very garlicky. Taste and adjust salt.

Drain off most of the liquid from the beans. Discard the onion halves and bay leaf. Using a potato masher, a pestle, or a wooden spoon, crush the beans while adding the garlic pureé. You should have a coarse pureé. Taste and adjust salt. Add a little more olive oil if desired. Serve warm.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 45 min

Servings: serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a starter

Recipe By: Martha Rose Shulman

From:  Mediterranean Harvest
Used with permission of Rodale

Chef Suggestions
For advance preparation, you can cook the beans through Step 1 up to 3 days ahead. Reheat gently, then proceed with the recipe.