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Black-Eyed Pea Fritters (Acaraje)

Day PartDinner
Menu PartAppetizer/Small Plate
Cuisine TypeSpanish

To “veg up” tapas, Roberto Santibanez, chef-owner of Fonda restaurant in New York City, prepares small fritters from protein-rich black-eyed peas to use as a base. More vegetables pump up the toppings, which include a veggie mayo and pineapple-cucumber guacamole.


1/2 lb. dried black-eyed peas
6 oz. yellow or white onion, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying

Veggie mayo
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped jalapeno, with seeds
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce

Pineapple-cucumber guacamole
1 English cucumber (10- to 12-ounces), peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
2 serrano or jalapeno chilies, minced (seeds included)
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and finely diced (drain excess liquid)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Prepare fritters: Soak peas in water for 24 to 48 hours. With peas still in water, rub together to remove skins, which will float; pour off and drain.
  2. Transfer peas to food processor; add onion, salt and pepper. Grind ingredients until pureed.
  3. Heat oil in deep fryer to 365 degrees. Form pea mixture into tablespoon-size balls or quenelles with spoons. Deep fry until golden; drain on paper towels.
  4. Prepare veggie mayo: In blender, combine all mayo ingredients; blend until very smooth.
  5. Prepare guacamole: In large bowl, stir together cucumber, onion, chilies, lime juice and salt. With sharp knife, score the flesh in avocado halves in a cross-hatch pattern (not through the skin).
  6. With spoon, scoop avocado flesh into cucumber mixture. Stir in pineapple just before serving, so the fresh acidity is a counterpoint to the avocado. Season to taste with salt and more lime juice.
  7. To serve, top fritters with guacamole and sprinkle with cilantro. Add pineapple guacamole on the side.

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