It’s an idea more than a recipe at this point. I’ve been thinking about two different types of salads I grew up with, the sweet and sour dressed 3-bean salad and the pea and cheese salad, often coated in a thick mayo dressing. Both of these salads are often made for potlucks and barbecues, but I wondered how I could put my own spin on them while adding a few ingredients I’ve come to love.
I knew that I wanted to include green peas and peanuts. Yes, peanuts. In Asian cooking they are commonly used in soups and salads, and I feel they haven’t been given enough street cred in American cooking. Just this past weekend I made a big bowl of noodle soup and threw a tablespoon of peanuts on top with a few chopped green onions — YUM.
I considered a broad range of options for the third item to complete the trinity, and settled for golden hominy. Hominy is the inside of a piece of corn, it expands when the outer corn shell is removed and looks like a puffy piece of corn. I’ve never used hominy but liked the idea of something yellow and thought the corn flavor would go well with peas and peanuts.
The salad is made of equal parts of green peas, peanuts, and hominy. I used thawed frozen peas, dry roasted peanuts, and canned hominy. For the dressing, I didn’t want to go the creamy route, so decided to make a vinaigrette. Being on an Asian kick, I decided to include chopped red chili peppers for a bit of spice and color. I made a sesame oil vinaigrette with lots of fresh minced ginger. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cilantro on hand or it would have been included in the salad too.
I mixed the ingredients then topped with a bit of shredded spinach and more red chili slices. I did like the combination of textures – the peas were tender and squishy, the peanuts crunchy, and the hominy was firm and somewhat chewy. The dressing overpowered the flavor of the peas and hominy, so a change would be needed. Overall, it wasn’t bad but has plenty of room for improvement.
Next time, I’m going to play with the dressing and make it less powerful, and likely less Asian. I may play with the trinity a bit too, not sure if hominy will make the final cut or not. I have a few other ideas that I’d like to try, including a variety of different beans. It’s good that I’ve started playing with this now so I’ll be ready for the first barbecue of Summer.