In chat tonight, I was asked to find a couple of recipes that would have been eaten in Byzantium. One was a turnip soup, and the other was a black-eyed pea salad with a honey and vinegar dressing. Well, I decided to see what I could come up with. I hope these are enough to meet the challenge! The soup recipes will be posted on their own!
Black-Eyed Peas with Honey Vinegar Dressing
1/2 c. honey
3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar (you could use red wine vinegar for a milder flavor)
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 c. fresh herbs, chop or chiffonade (use what you have, but your options are plenty: thyme, rosemary, Italian parsley, savory, oregano and others!)
Sea salt to taste (a pinch or 2)
First, blend the herbs, garlic and the oil, then stir in the honey. Whisk in the vinegar until you have an emulsion. Add a pinch or 2 of sea salt and taste. Once emulsified, pour into a bottle and keep refrigerated .
For the salad:
Cooked black-eyed peas
Chopped white carrots
Chopped celery and leaves
Mix the above in the amounts desired. Blend in enough of the dressing to flavor the vegetables well, but not leave them overly wet.
You can make this with all sorts of other ingredients for various flavors. Add chopped jalapeños for some kick. Add in drained Mandarin oranges with some freshly grated ginger for an Asian flare. Fresh chopped bell peppers can add some crunch, or toss in some halved cherry tomatoes! Replace the black-eyed peas with chichees. The possibilities are endless!
Of course, these other options aren't Byzantine, but not every meal has to be perfectly period. Cooking is about enjoying your time in the kitchen, preparing food with love, and serving it to people who will be nourished body and soul.
In medieval times, people cooked with what was available to them, and one had to be flexible with ingredients. Today, it's not much different if you have a garden. Sometimes you have to alter a recipe to match what's ready to harvest!
No matter what you cook, do it with love. Food isn't just about nutrition; it's about feeding the soul as well!