Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Relish

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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For fritters:

1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. minced fresh habanero chile, including seeds
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 Tbsp. water
6 cups vegetable oil

For relish:

4 red bell peppers (1-1/2 pounds), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced fresh habanero chile, including seeds
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil


Soak peas for fritters:

Put the peas in a pot ofwater and cover by 2″. Soak the peas for 8 hours, then rain in a colander.

Make relish:

Puree the bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, chile and salt in 2 batches, using a food processor.

Heat oil in a 12″ heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then stir in puree (use caution as it will splatter). Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is evaporated, 8-10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Make fritters:

Puree the peas, onion and chile in food processor until as smooth as possible, then blend in the egg and salt. With the motor running, add 3 Tbsp. of water and blend until smooth and fluffy (add the remaining tablespoon water, if necessary to form a batter just thin enough to drop from a spoon).

Fry fritters:

Heat the oil in a 4 quart heavy pot (preferably cast-iron) until the thermometer registers 360F. Working in batches of 8, gently drop tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil. Using a small spoon to scrape the batter from the tablespoon. Fry, stirring constantly (to prevent the fritters from browning too quickly), until golden, about 2 minutes, then transfer the fritters to paper towels to drain. Return oil to 360F between batches.

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine, January 2002.