Fried black-eyed peas

How to make fried blackened peas

I did not grow up eating black eyed peas. For many years they were completely off my radar. Then, Alton Brown, on some random food network show, talked about a restaurant that was serving deep fried black eyed peas as a bar snack. I was intrigued.

The first time I attempted deep fried black eyed peas, I went the long route, soaking the beans, cooking them, cooling them, drying them, then deep frying. In all honesty, going through the trouble of using dry beans does yield the best results, creamy interiors and crunchy exteriors, but frozen black eyed peas and canned still make a tasty snack that requires a much smaller time investment.

Whatever you choose, the following tips will get you started making one of the tastiest snacks on the planet.

1. If you use dried bean, make sure they get at least a 12 hour soak. When it's time to cook, I like to add a bay leaf, half an onion, and a peeled clove of garlic to the pot, boiling the beans until they are tender. If you use frozen beans, thaw them. If using canned, rinse and strain.

2. Dry the beans (whether you cooked them yourself or are using thawed or canned) very well on a paper-towel lined plate or sheet pan. The more moisture on the beans, the more they will splatter when they hit the hot oil. Grease burns are not pleasant.

3. Don't fry at too high a temperature. I prefer 325 F to 350 F. This allows you to control the cooking and make sure they get appropriately crunchy/creamy at the same time. It only takes a few minutes. Roughly 3 minutes of frying per batch. As far as the oil to use, I prefer grapeseed, but vegetable or peanut work well too.

4. Season immediately as they come out of the fryer. My favorite is is salt, pepper, and old bay seasoning. Once they have cooled enough to eat, I also like a squirt of lemon, the acidity seems to cut the richness nicely.

Happy Snacking!