I feel as if I could write at least 100 food posts that start the same way: “When I was in Charleston…”, because I ate so many delicious and interesting dishes there, that left me feeling inspired. This recipe stems from a special I had at Monza after a day of walking all over the city. I was tired – in that happy fatigued kind of way – hot, and famished so I would have eaten anything the waitress set in front of me and probably loved it, but this salad was so above and beyond. At its core it had pigeon peas, local greens, ripe peaches, and a spicy dressing. I know there were other ingredients too, but I am not entirely sure what they were to be honest with you, and now that I have made this version at home, I am not sure that they matter either.
This would make for a light yet satisfying dinner on a warm night, or be the perfect alternative to a traditional bean salad at your next barbecue. The salad will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator, so feel free to make it in advance. You can also go as crazy as you like with the arugula, basil and peaches (or nectarines), especially considering how sweet and juicy the latter are right now (I would go really crazy if I were you! : )).
- For the Salad:
- 1 cup dried pigeon peas (+ water for soaking)
- 1 cup 2 cups baby arugula
- 2 peaches (or nectarines), sliced and chopped
- ¼ cup chopped basil leaves (I like a lot of basil with this so I might add a little bit more, but as I said in the text, go wild with the ingredients here based on what you like!)
- For the Dressing:
- 1 teaspoon red chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Place the pigeon peas in a large bowl with approximately 4 cups of cold water, and soak on your counter overnight.
- Drain. Place the pigeon peas in a pot with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook for 20-25 minutes, until tender.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing for salad by whisking all of the ingredients together.
- Once the pigeon peas are cooked, drain, and immediately transfer them to a large bowl and toss with the dressing. The warm pigeon peas will soak up the flavor! Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes or so, then add the remaining ingredients. Salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.