- 8 thin slices lean, hickory-smoked bacon, cut crosswise into strips ½ inch wide
- 2/3 cup finely diced red onion (about ½ medium-small)
- 2/3 cup finely diced green bell pepper (about 1 small)
- 2/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper (about 1 small)
- One 16-ounce package frozen black-eyed peas, cooked by package directions
- 3 tablespoons corn oil or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
The easiest way to cut bacon into thin strips is to use kitchen shears and snip straight across the stacked slices.
- Brown the bacon slowly in a large, heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally and separating the pieces. This may take as long as 30 minutes, but you can proceed with the salad while the bacon cooks. When all of the fat has rendered out and the bacon is crisp and brown, lift to paper toweling to drain using a slotted spoon. Pour the drippings from the skillet and reserve.
- Place the onion and bell peppers in a large heatproof bowl and toss well. Drain the cooked black-eyed peas well, then dump at once on top of the vegetable mixture in the bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. The heat of the peas wilts the vegetables slightly and mellows their flavors.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Place all ingredients in the skillet in which you browned the bacon, set over moderately high heat, and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the skillet bottom.
- Pour the boiling dressing over the salad, toss well, and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Taste for vinegar, salt, and pepper and adjust the seasonings as needed.
- Add the reserved bacon to the salad, toss well, and serve as an accompaniment to chicken prepared any which way—broiled, grilled, fried, roasted. Good, too, with fried fish, especially catfish.