Unique Eats: Fried Black-Eyed Peas at Relish

3:14 AM, Jul 4, 2010   |    comments
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  • Relish in Roswell is famous for fried black-eyed-peas.
  • Relish in Roswell is famous for fried black-eyed-peas.
  • Pimiento cheese fritters at Relish in Roswell.

Roswell, GA -- The food at Relish in Roswell is so good, it's more than a restaurant. It's an experience.

"We have what we call the Relish experience: cucumber lemonade, pimento cheese fritters with four-pepper jelly and Krispy Kreme bread pudding," said Neil Andersen of The Condiment Group. "Those are the three things here you have to try."

The cucumber lemonade is hand-squeezed, and the fritters are so tasty, they'll soon be featured on TLC's "Best Food Ever."

The impossible-to-resist bread pudding is made with Krispy Kreme donuts and topped off with Espresso creme. 

The most popular dish at Relish is perhaps the most unusual one: fried black-eyed peas.  

They became famous after Alton Brown of the Food Network picked them for a show called "The Best Thing I Ever Ate."

"I was flabbergasted," Brown said on the show. "I did not know what they would feel like, taste like. When your teeth got to it, it collapsed."

"It's got that crunchy flavor, salty and a little bit of spice," Andersen said. 

It's Southern food with a twist, a menu to Relish.

"There's nothing pretentious about it," Andersen said. "The atmosphere is simple. The plating is simple. It's all about the food."

You can buy bags of black-eyed peas and jugs of cucumber lemonade at All Y'alls Wine and Gourmet Market, which is located right beside Relish on Mimosa Boulevard in Roswell.

Relish opened almost three years ago.

The owner, Andy Badgett, is also the creator of Asher and The Fickle Pickle in Roswell.

He attributes his affinity for the kitchen to his mother, who is an excellent cook. Badgett's love for cooking was inspired by the creativity, the bounty of ingredients and that Southern hospitality. 

Badgett agreed to share his recipe for fried black-eyed peas.

Soak 1 bag of black eyed peas overnight
Boil in water with 1 poblano pepper, 1 jalapeno pepper, and 1 onion (all roughly chopped/quartered) until al dente
Separate peas from peppers and onion
Fry at 325 degrees (this is particularly tricky*)
Toss to taste with old bay seasoning
Serve warm

*The trick to frying is the size of the bubbles in the oil as you fry. When they get to be about the size of a dime, the peas should be about right. Under cooked they are tough, over cooked they taste burned. 


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