black eyed pea and cheddar fritters

Black Eyed Pea and Cheddar Fritters

december 26, 2018

black eyed pea and cheddar fritters

Time once again to eat something special for the new year to bring luck, health and prosperity. And treat your belly to something delicious as well. Of course I’m talking about black eyed peas, which every southerner knows is absolute for the  new year’s menu. The vegan version of Hoppin’ John published a few years ago is a thick stew, or a chunky soup, and can be made with smoked meat for a non-vegan version. Today’s black eyed pea fritters are versatile in that they may serve as an appetizer or a light meal and can be accompanied by all kinds of sauces and spreads. 

Inspiration for these fritters came from an old Gourmet magazine recipe for black bean patties with cheese. I’ve had a version with black beans and cheddar livened up with cilantro and paired with autumn apple pear chutney for a few months on The Good Eats Company vegetarian menu and it’s time to have them morph into yet another type of savory patty.

black eyed pea and cheddar fritters

new year good luck food : coins (black eyed peas), gold (cheddar cheese) and cash money (parsley)

For optimal good luck, you need three components to your dish : black eyed peas which symbolize coins, something signifying gold (here, cheddar) and greenery symbolizing money. We’ve got all three in this recipe, plus a little extra gold from  yellow cornmeal.Almost any favorite side sauce will complement these tasty fritters—my personal favorites are lemon tahini sauce and homemade chutney, which keeps in the fridge for months : I made ginger peach chutney this summer and still have a nice stash which my tasters got to try with these fritters.

black eyed pea and cheddar fritters

These fritters are best served the day they are made, but will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and frozen ahead. They must be reheated in an oven for a crisp texture, since the microwave will keep them flabby. Good luck requires proper handling of your good luck dish! Happiest of New Year’s to you and your loved ones and here’s to Good Eats in 2019 all the year long.

Black Eyed Pea and Cheddar Fritters

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes 12 fritters : 6 appetizers or 3-4 light entrees 


¾ cup yellow cornmeal 
6 tablespoons 1-for-1 gluten free flour or all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon baking powder 
½ teaspoon ground cayenne
scant ½  teaspoon fine sea salt
15.8 ounce can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 cups (8 ounces) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped Italian parsley or cilantro
3 large eggs, separated
½ cup whole milk
neutral oil like canola for frying
sauces for dipping : consider a nice vinaigrette or lemon tahini 


  1. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together first six dry ingredients.
  2. In another deep mixing bowl, use electric mixer to whip egg whites to soft peaks.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolks.
  4. In heavy skillet (cast iron best), add about 1/8 inch neutral oil and heat over medium high heat until a tiny drop of water added to skillet sizzles.
  5. While skillet oil heats, place peas, cheese and parsley atop dry ingredients, add soft egg whites and yolk/milk mixture and gently mix with spatula until just blended.
  6. To ensure even patties, use spatula to divide mixture into four quadrants -each quadrant will yield three patties – use a ¼ cup measure to scoop out each fritter, cooking three at at time in the heated skillet, for about 1 ½ minute the first side and about 1 minute on the second side.
  7. You will see golden brown around the edges; carefully flip each fritter and cook the other side.
  8. Drain the fritters on paper towels and serve hot with dipping sauce(s).
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