Sautéed Spanish Mackerel with Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Eric Ripert's vivid black-eyed pea salad was inspired by acarajé, a traditional Bahian dish made by pounding raw peas into a paste and mixing them with dried shrimp. Ripert cooks whole peas and tosses them with a lime vinaigrette and chopped dried shrimp. The spicy dressing also moistens and flavors the pan-seared mackerel.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed (1 1/3 cups)
  • 1/3 cup dried shrimp (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato—halved crosswise, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 small garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and very finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Four 6-ounce skinless Spanish mackerel fillets

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the black-eyed peas with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the peas.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the dried shrimp with hot water and let stand until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop the shrimp.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil with the lime juice, cilantro, scallions, shallot, tomato, garlic and jalapeño. Fold in the black-eyed peas and chopped dried shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Let the black-eyed pea salad stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

  4. In each of two large nonstick skillets, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil until shimmering. Season the mackerel fillets with salt and pepper. Add them to the skillets and cook over high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the fillets and cook until just opaque throughout, about 2 minutes longer.

  5. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the black-eyed pea salad onto 4 plates and set the sautéed mackerel fillets on top. Drizzle any remaining dressing from the salad around the plates and serve.

Make Ahead

The black-eyed pea salad can be prepared early in the day; cover and refrigerate. Serve lightly chilled or at room temperature.


Dried shrimp are available at Asian markets in a variety of sizes and forms. Choose headless shrimp that are still slightly pliable; they shouldn't crumble when pressed.

Suggested Pairing

This cilantro-inflected mackerel pairs perfectly with an herbal Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, particularly from the up-and-coming Casablanca Valley.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published February 2006

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