Duane Nutter launched his culinary career on a leap of faith. At 20 years old, he packed everything he owned into his car and left home to work the salad station for a chef he’d seen on TV—Darryl Evans—at the Grand Hotel in Atlanta (now the Four Seasons). During his time there, Nutter’s perception of the food he grew up with changed completely. His black-eyed pea salad is the shining example of this. Nutter grew up with his mother and grandmother cooking the legume in the context of a classic meat-and-three side, like hoppin’ john. Under Evans, he learned to cook them with more water for less time and transform them into an accent for a bright salad. “It was where I learned, ‘oh, you can do so much more with food,’” he says.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight (or canned black-eyed peas)
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
½ bunch italian parsley
1 yellow pepper, diced 1 red pepper, diced
½ red onion, diced
Black pepper to taste
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
5 cups arugula
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons goat cheese
- In a medium pot over medium heat, add olive oil and ginger. Sauté until ginger is slightly browned, then add peas, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 cups water. Simmer until peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Strain and let cool.
- Transfer cooled beans to a bowl and add parsley, peppers, onion, and pepper to taste. Stir until well-combined and adjust seasoning to taste.
- In a jar or pint container with a lid, combine vinegar, olive oil, and mustard. Cover and shake well.
- To serve, divide arugula between 4 plates. Top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of black-eyed pea salad. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and goat cheese and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Recipe ByDuane Nutter