When I was growing up, I was taught the value of hospitality, particularly “southern” hospitality. When I think back to my childhood roots, many summertime images come to mind — sweet tea, front porches, Sunday dinners with friends and family, a meticulous table setting, orange blossoms, a train whistle blowing in the distance, and conch peas.
Conch peas, (also known as lady peas) are my all-time favorite peas and you can only get them in the South during the summer. They’re smaller, sweeter, and creamier than most peas.
While visiting my home town of Haines City, Florida this weekend, a friend surprised me with a large bag of these tasty little morsels. I was so thrilled because I haven’t eaten any in about 25 years.
It’s funny how certain smells can trigger nostalgia. While cooking the peas today, I remembered how my mother used to buy them at the local flea market and cook them for our family. My kitchen smelled just like hers…simply delicious!
Bon appétit ya’ll:
• 4 cups fresh conch peas
• 6 cups water
• Thick slice of salt pork or hog jowl (optional)
• Half cup diced Vidalia or sweet onion
• 1 clove garlic, finely diced
• 1 bay leaf
• Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse peas in fresh water and drain. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. Serve over rice and sprinkle with hot pepper vinegar or hot sauce. And don’t forget the cornbread!