Edouardo Jordan's knack for making great food came long before he began building up his résumé. "My background in cooking with my family allowed me to understand how food should taste and how to season things," Jordan says. "Grandma … she just knew how to season her food—that was from the start. So maybe that's innate in me."
The Florida-born chef eventually took this foundation to the highest level of professional practice, going on to master a repertoire of cuisines and techniques ranging from Italian cooking at Lincoln Ristorante in New York to French-style methods at Per Se and Napa Valley's the French Laundry.
"Everything I've learned is incorporated into how I perform in the kitchen on a daily basis," he says.
Now he's successfully running two Seattle-based restaurants: JuneBaby, serving the Southern comfort food he knows so well, and Salare, a melding of American, African, European and Caribbean cuisines. To those he added, just two weeks ago, a bar-style restaurant, called Lucinda Grain Bar, next door to JuneBaby, that highlights grains, legumes and whisky.
With three restaurants now, “it's very difficult to actually be in one spot at any given time," says Jordan. "My day to day has changed a little bit. I have little flurries of time in the kitchen and then I have flurries of time at the desk."
But his busyness has been paying off: Earlier this year, Jordan earned two James Beard Awards, one for best Northwest chef and the other for best new restaurant, for JuneBaby.
So when it came down to selecting a dish appropriate for a New Year's celebration, he didn't think twice about centering it on black-eyed peas—a symbol of luck and prosperity—to keep this success flowing into 2019.
"It's a classic, kind of southern tradition to serve black-eyed peas for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day for good fortune for the year," says Jordan. "I'm just kind of following tradition—what we ate as a family—and incorporating that into what we do now."
The party-size salad recipe he shares—this serves 20, perfect if you're hosting a crowd or are counting on leftovers—can be scaled back as much as you want, down to a meal for four (in which case it calls for just a pinch of each of the spices). The dish can be kept fully vegetarian, served as a side or topped with poached chicken, turkey, ham or any meat of your choosing to make a full meal.
For those unfamiliar with cooking with black-eyed peas, you can find them at most stores in the dried bean section. The peas should be soaked at least six to 24 hours in advance "to expedite the cooking process," says Jordan. The salt should be added after the beans are done cooking, he adds, to ensure they actually absorb the flavors completely.
"This is a dish that you could essentially make a few days in advance," Jordan says. "Let it sit and it gets better over time."
Little screams New Year's more than Champagne, and, luckily, it makes a perfect pairing with the salad. "When you think of black-eyed peas, you normally don't think of Champagne, but it's the other ingredient to bring everything together," Jordan says.
He goes with a Suenen À Cramant Brut Champagne Réserve NV. "It's crisp and it has a good tartness to it," he says. "It's going to go well with the preserved lemon more than anything and the chopped herbs," he says. Below, Wine Spectator shares recently rated selections of similar bubblies.
With all his successes, Jordan might not need the luck, but he'll be serving this black-eyed pea salad for his family this New Year's because, for him, tradition matters.
For the black-eyed peas
1. Place peas in a large bowl and cover with water by 4 inches. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for 24 hours. Drain.
2. Place all ingredients in a stockpot, cover with water by 3 to 4 inches and place over high heat. Skim as needed as you bring to a boil.
3. When the water is boiling, lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until peas are nearly tender. This will vary depending on how long they were soaked; check after 15 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter.
4. Let peas rest 5 minutes in the cooking liquid, then salt generously. Let peas rest in the water for a bit longer to absorb the salt, then drain.
For the preserved lemon sauce
Place all ingredients in a blender with 150 grams (2/3 cup) of water. Process for 90 seconds. Reserve.
For the salad
1. Generously coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and heat on medium until the oil is shimmering but not smoking.
2. Add the red pepper, green pepper and onion to the pan and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes to “wake up” the vegetables; they will soften and lose some of their rawness. Do not let them brown. As the vegetables soften, add salt a pinch at a time, stirring between each addition. This is both to add flavor and to draw moisture out of the vegetables; the goal is to give them the same texture as the cooked beans. Stir in the thyme.
3. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients, as well as the black-eyed peas and the sauce, folding gently so as to not break up the beans. Can serve hot or room temperature. Serves 20.
Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good sparkling wines from recently rated releases. More options can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.
ROEDERER ESTATE Brut Anderson Valley NV
Seamless and silky with an almost effortless sense of complexity, with notes of lemon and pear paired with toasty brioche, fresh ginger and hazelnut. Drink now. 80,000 cases made.
NICOLAS FEUILLATTE Brut Champagne Réserve Exclusive NV
Well-knit and mouthwatering, with a creamy mousse and flavors of glazed apple, grated ginger, smoky toasted brioche and hints of marzipan and lemon curd lingering on the lively finish. Drink now through 2021. 41,392 cases imported.
DIEBOLT-VALLOIS Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV
Ripe apricot and orchard blossom notes are set on the satiny bead of this well-balanced blanc de blancs. It's fresh and personable, with accents of pastry cream and candied lemon peel. Disgorged November 2017. Drink now. 1,000 cases imported.
GLORIA FERRER Blanc de Blancs Carneros NV
Sleek and steely with delicate lemon and green apple flavors accented by blanched almond and clotted cream notes. Drink now. 2,000 cases made.
DUC DE ROMET Brut Champagne Prestige NV
Open-knit and fresh, with a smoky undertow and flavors of Honeycrisp apple, black currant, spring blossom and lemon pith set on the lively bead. Disgorged April 2018. Drink now. 1,084 cases imported.
LOUIS DE SACY Brut Champagne Originel
This fresh and open-knit Champagne is lightly chalky in texture, with honeysuckle, clementine and biscuit notes backed by zesty acidity. Moderate finish. Drink now. 8,300 cases made.
PAUL LAURENT Brut Champagne Cuvée du Fondateur NV
A mouthwatering Champagne, with a lacy mousse and a lively mix of Honeycrisp apple, nectarine, Marcona almond and chalk. Subtle finish. Drink now. 20,000 cases made.