If you are no stranger to the simple yet hearty fare from the Pennsylvania Dutch, then this salad will definitely spark a sense of familiarity. Created by the hardworking Amish and Mennonite farmers of the Midwest, whose recipes are oftentimes passed down orally from one generation to the next, this pea salad recipe is a bit old fashioned and definitely unique. Dating back to the Depression days it’s the kind of recipe that one might find in an old community cookbook from a local church or women’s organization.
I’m familiar with the Amish’s rich and buttery Butterscotch Tapioca pudding that is often served at big gatherings like a barn raising. I’ve encountered their hot cabbage salad which is tied to those with German roots and I’ve also had the best Amish fried hand-pies with delicious fruit fillings like Strawberry Rhubarb. I’ve eaten the largest, fluffiest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever seen topped with a lovely butter-rich icing, but for me, this pea salad rustles up a bit of nostalgia. It’s perfect to serve for a family meal or to bring to a spring/summer potluck: Tender green peas, sweet pickles, sharp cheddar cheese, and crunchy peanuts are bound together with tangy mayonnaise and a chopped hard-boiled egg. What’s not to love!?
Recipe from Cooking From Quilt Country, by Marcia Adams
1 14 – ounce can good-quality canned peas, drained
1 cup cubed, mild longhorn or cheddar cheese
1 cup salted peanuts
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion (I prefer red onion)
1/4 cup chopped sweet pickle pieces (not relish)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped red bell pepper, or canned red pimiento
1 hard-cooked egg, coarsely chopped
4 heaping tablespoons creamy salad dressing (I use Hellmann’s Mayonnaise)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in the order given in a large bowl and mix lightly. Chill for several hours in a tightly covered container to allow the flavors to meld.