Tangy, Minty Black-eyed Pea Salsa

This black-eyed pea salsa starred alongside Kahlua-Spiked Ice Cream Pie for our End of the World BBQ.  It’s a sweet and tangy salsa with plenty of substance from the black-eyes peas, bell peppers, corn, and tomatoes.  The addition of mint gives the salsa a tropical feel to match its brilliant rainbow of red, green, yellow, mixed with the dual-toned peas.

Printable Recipe: Tangy, Minty Blackeyed Pea Salsa.

First, create the dressing by adding rice wine vinegar, olive oil, cumin, ground mustard, salt, and the zest and juice of 2 limes.  Rice wine vinegar has a sweeter taste than others, not quite as pungent as other vinegars.  Limes feel more tropical to me, but I’m sure lemons would be a fine substitute (although use 1 only since they are larger than limes).  Whisk all of this together and let it sit.While the dressing sets, prep and mix the remaining ingredients.  Finely dice up the red onion.Cut the red and green bell peppers into strips, then turn them to dice into small pieces about the size of corn kernels.  Combine all the diced vegetables in your large bowl.  Add the minced garlic.To prep the tomatoes, I used Roma, cut them in half, then slice each half into 4 long half-moons.  Turn these half moon slices to the side and dice to make small pieces the size of corn kernels (noticing a pattern?).Drain and wash the black-eyed peas and corn and drop them in with the peppers and onions.Pour the dressing on top of the salsa.  Mix with your hands because it’s more fun.Strip the mint of its leaves and discard the stalks.  Layer the mint leaves on top of one another.  Aim for 7-9 leaves, more takes a little dexterity.  Roll up the leaves as if they were a cigar wrapper.   Thinly slice the stacked and rolled leaves.  You will have tiny ribbons of mint.  Your hand will smell like mint and it will freshen up your entire kitchen.  Mint is exhilarating like that.  This simple process has a fancy French name, chiffonade.  Use it at your next cocktail party.

Of course you can start munching on the salsa (I had it for dinner the night before the BBQ), but it really develops its flavor through overnight refrigeration.  Take it out a few hours before the party to bring the salsa to room temperature.  I love it with blue tortilla chips.  I may be a snob, but in my humble opinion, blue tortilla chips have better corn flavor, plus it adds another cool color to the mix.

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