Eye Exam

A new use for Old Bay
0 Ratings

Old Bay seasoning is typically aligned with such seminal East Coast dishes as crab and shrimp boils. However, since moving to Chicago, Zoe Schor has been able to bring a taste of her Mid-Atlantic hometown to her new position at Ada Street. In her recipe for crispy black-eyed peas, Schor uses Old Bay, turning a satisfying bar bite into something all the more snackable. Paired with a cold beer, it transported us directly to a harbor on the Chesapeake Bay.

Crispy Black-Eyed Peas

Recipe adapted from Zoe Schor, Ada Street, Chicago

Yield: Serves 4

Cook Time: 15 minutes (plus 1 hour soaking time)


3½ cups frozen black-eyed peas

1 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

Vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup semolina flour

¼ cup Old Bay seasoning

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper


1. In a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the frozen peas under hot water until they are no longer cold to the touch. Shake off the water and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the buttermilk and 1 tablespoon of the salt, stir, and set aside for 1 hour.

2. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat 2 inches of oil until it reaches 350° on a digital thermometer.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, semolina, Old Bay and cayenne pepper. Drain the peas through a colander or sieve, shaking the beans to remove the excess liquid. Turn them out into the seasoned flour and toss to coat.

4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the peas from the flour, tapping them to remove extra flour, and add the seasoned peas to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried peas to a paper-towel-lined plate and immediately season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Serve warm.

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