Lucky new year black-eyed peas with citrus cilantro gremolata

lucky-new-year-black-eyed-beans Can we talk about beans? Simply put, they may just be a perfect food.

Economical, versatile, easy, healthy. So why such a challenge, I wonder? Lauro spend his university days in England, where it seems breakfast was beans on toast.

Every day. Beans on toast.

Lauro no longer eats beans. Nothing sways him. Last year’s new year black-eyed pea and sweet potato hash didn’t woo him. Even with an egg on top!

And still, I’ve made a mission of loving beans. Especially this time of year, when legend says they bring good luck. I’ve heard many reasons. Because they are round, they symbolize the cycle of life. And because they are round, they resemble coins and invite prosperity. Which is why I always take care to mix some truly-round lentils with my black-eyed peas – one can’t take chances with prosperity.

Like other favorite foods – pasta and oatmeal – beans are better with a little embellishment. This year I’m combining three kinds of beans with the crunch and color of red onion and carrots, punctuated with gremolata with a twist.

Gremolata is a classic Italian condiment made with parsley, garlic and lemon zest.  It’s used to scatter on all sorts of dishes from pasta to osso bucco, it boosts the flavor and makes your taste buds sit straighter and take notice.  Here I’ve switched it up by using cilantro with lime.  Of course you can improvise as you like.

Wishing you wonderful luck, abundance and prosperity, however you define it.

Lucky new year bean salad with citrus gremolata

Makes about six cups

1 1/2 cups cooked or canned black-eyed peas

1 1/2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans

1 cup cooked brown lentils

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup sliced red onion

1/2 cup olive oil

juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Citrus cilantro gremolata

1/4 cup minced cilantro

2 tablespoons finely-grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon finely-grated lime zest

4 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced

Dump the black-eyed peas, cannellini beans, lentils, onions and carrots into a mixing bowl and gently fold to combine. Whisk together the olive oil with the lemon and lime juice.  Whisk in the salt. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.  Pour over beans and gently toss.

To make the gremolata, stir together the cilantro, lemon and lime zest and minced garlic. Dollop it onto the beans to present at the table. Stir in as you serve.


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