© Christina Holmes
Active Time
45 MIN
Total Time
1 HR 30 MIN
Serves : 6

Chef Sean Brock seasons his black-eyed peas with hot sauce, lemon juice and vinaigrette before tossing them with crackling corn bread and peppery watercress for a Southern main-course salad. Slideshow: Bean Salad Recipes

How to Make It

Step 1    Make the corn bread

Preheat the oven to 450°. Heat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for at least 10 minutes.

Step 2    Make the corn bread

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until crisp and the fat has rendered, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Scrape the bacon fat into a small measuring cup and stir in enough canola oil to make 5 tablespoons total.

Step 3    Make the corn bread

In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the salt, baking powder, baking soda and bacon. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the eggs and bacon oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the cornmeal mixture.

Step 4    Make the corn bread

Grease the hot cast-iron skillet with canola oil. Add the corn bread batter, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the corn bread is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly, then unmold the corn bread and let cool completely. Cut half of the corn bread into 1/2-inch cubes; reserve the rest for another use.

Step 5    Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients and season with salt. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Step 6    Prepare the black-eyed peas

In a large pot, heat the canola oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peas, stock, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the peas and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf; reserve the cooking liquid for another use.

Step 7    Prepare the black-eyed peas

Transfer the peas to a large bowl and stir in the butter, lemon juice and hot sauce. Season with some of the vinaigrette. Add the watercress, season with salt and white pepper and toss. Transfer the salad to plates and garnish with the corn bread croutons. Serve the extra vinaigrette on the side.

Make Ahead

The cooked black-eyed peas can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The corn bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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