A not-so-short hop away from Hoppin’ John

We Gourmandistanis generally pride ourselves on maintaining a humanistic, progressive point of view, striving to reject superstition and magical thinking. However, given Steve’s totemistic use of blue clothing and fervent belief in the power of both hexing (and reverse hexing) as applied to UK basketball, we cannot say we’ve completely left superstition out of our lives. Plus, especially for Michelle, Southern traditions hold strong, and here in our wintry homeplace black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day are as expected as arguments over whether the world’s best point guard was Richie Farmer or Travis Ford. (Sorry, Michelle.)

But no matter how much hot sauce you put on it, Hoppin’ John is sort of boring, and we felt that if we were going to place our hopes for luck and fortune on a hill of beans, we might try to make them a bit more entertaining.


This salad from Susan Spicer’s Crescent City Cooking fit the bill nicely. The cornmeal-crusted oysters were crispy, hot and sweet, the celery root and chiffonaded greens indeed fresh and crunchy, and the jalapeño dressing indeed killer. But making it took us (OK, mostly Michelle) all morning—not 45 minutes as the cookbook claims. That was not bad, though, as we had blood orange mimosas to drink.

Like most of you, we certainly hope this year brings us good fortune and good luck.  But if this year’s tribute to the spirit world is any indication, we’re only going to get it with a fair amount of hard work.

(The recipe, should you be inclined to spend a long morning cooking, can be found here.  We made only a couple of changes. Because Michelle doesn’t much like raw peppers, she quickly charred the chopped red peppers in a bit of olive oil.  And, we substituted watercress for the spinach.)


  1. Valerie Timmons

    Mmmmmm. Mimosas. But there’s nothing in the world that can make black-eyed peas or UK basketball interesting. 🙂

  2. 1. That’s the best-looking use of black-eyed peas I’ve ever seen.
    2. Oysters?? Shouldn’t those be the real New Year’s tradition, just so we could justify having them more often?
    3. Susan Spicer – showing up in my life from several directions recently. She’s the inspiration for the first Winter Dinner Club event at Holly Hill Inn, this coming weekend.
    4. Neither Travis Ford nor Richie Farmer—Kyle Macy.

    • The recipe was, really, more restaurant- than home-appropriate in terms of labor. But the salad dressing was delicious & easy and I’ll try to remember to use it again.

  3. Pingback: An early taste of good fortune with pork & black-eyed pea chili | Gourmandistan

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