When I lived in Birminghan, my roommate and I went to the farmer's market at Pepper Place every Saturday morning before coming home to listen to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on NPR and fry up some fresh Alabama eggs for breakfast.
The other night, while my Cliff spent the evening with one of his friends from college (they're both engineers, so I excused myself, understandably), I opened up a can of black-eyed peas and recreated a riff on that salad that comforted me so many times while I lived in the Deep South. It's a vibrant mix of Campari tomatoes, yellow pepper, black eyed peas, cucumber and sauteed shrimp with fresh herbs. What more could a girl want, really?
The Southern Summer Salad
Serves 2, in the summertime
8 oz medium Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 English cucumber, diced
6 Campari tomatoes, or plum tomatoes, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper
1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Heat butter over medium heat in a non-stick pan. Once the butter starts to bubble, add the shrimp. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until opaque. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine English cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, black-eyed peas, fresh herbs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
Divide the salad onto two plates and top with the shrimp and any butter left in the pan (trust me, the warm butter is a selling point). Garnish with fresh herbs.
Suggested pairing: 2008 Domaine de Paris rosé.