I have memories scattered all over my childhood connected to New Year’s Day and black-eyed peas. They are all delicious and fond memories – both of my parents (both born and raised Uptown) working to clean the greens, prep the black-eyed peas, and my Daddy frying cornbread patties to keep the rest of the meal company. 

All over the south, southerners are starting off the year with this absolutely delicious combination, with all parts having a special meaning. Collard greens symbolize money and a prosperous new year. With its origins stemming from Africa, the tradition for black-eyed peas is to bring luck and prosperity. Pork is added because the pig nudges it’s nose forward, and you want to move forward this year. So much more than a tasty meal, it’s symbolic for the year to come. Setting intentions from the plate to the belly! 

Speaking of the belly, I have come up with an elevated version of that meal, this one giving comfort, flavor, and a lighter feeling after eating it. The buttery and smoky feel of the fried black eyed peas; flavor-packed and lightly crisp collards; smooth, light and salty coppa; hot honey cornbread with a sweet fresh tomato side (I added because of red being a lucky color in the Chinese culture), all of these sets it to a high standard. 

When you make this meal, with your first bite, close your eyes and enjoy thinking of the symbolism and what it means to you to have another year. Happy New Year and happy cooking.


Fried Black Eyed Peas with Sautéed Collards and Sweet Tomato Vinaigrette

Tomato Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup of EVOO
  • 1 teaspoon of all in one seasoning (add more if needed)
  • 1 hearty tablespoon of dill paste
  • 2 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 1 hearty tablespoon of mayo (if you don’t want a creamy vinaigrette leave this out)
  • 1 6-12 oz. container of cherry tomatoes (depending on how much you like tomatoes)

1. Combine all ingredients well, adjust taste to personal liking by adding more or less seasoning. Set aside.

Collard Greens

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 bag of triple washed collard greens
  • 1 16 oz. Creole seasoning mix (such as Guidry’s, chopped celery, onion and bell pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice (optional)
  • 3 oz. of prosciutto or coppa slices
  • Chef Toya’s All-In-One seasoning blend or any other all-purpose seasoning blend

1. In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter along with Creole seasoning mix, and saute until tender. 

2. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and collard greens and sauté until they begin to wilt slightly. 

3. Season to taste, add lime (if desired) and remove from heat. Top with prosciutto or coppa slices.

Black-eyed Peas

  • 4 cans of black-eyed peas
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 bundle of green onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic paste or chopped garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • Chef Toya’s All-In-One seasoning blend or any other all-purpose seasoning blend

1. Drain and rinse black-eyed peas in a colander 

2. In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter; add chopped onions, green onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon of all-in-one seasoning. Sauté until caramelized.

3. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and black-eyed peas; season to taste with all-in-one and add 1-2 tablespoons of smoked paprika, to your taste level. Set aside.

4. Serve with collard greens, tomato vinaigrette and the cornbread of your choice.


TIPS

Instead of traditional cornbread, use a griddle and make cornbread pancakes to serve on the side.

Taste collards as you go; you want to have some crunch. 

When drizzling the vinaigrette over the whole meal, keep in mind that you can’t remove seasoning, but you can always add more at the end. Add a little at a time.