Some people complain about the summer heat, but I really don't get it. I think it is such a small price to pay for such a wonderful time of year. No one really expects too much from you during the summer. It is like everything goes on hold so we can garden, travel, play and grill.
Our family grills year round. My husband even keeps a snow shovel by the door so he can clear me a path to the grill in the dead of winter. The grill count on our side deck now numbers 3. We have a charcoal grill for steaks and chicken, a gas grill for browning and our newest acquisition, an electric smoker to smoke the meat we brown on the gas grill. I know what you are thinking, but don't turn your nose up, it is really unbelievable what a great job our electric smoker does.
Believe it or not, this post is not about grilling or meat it is about the sides. I've made it clear that I am not crazy about traditional sides that go with barbeque. I do have a recipe for some dolled up baked beans that I really like, but they call for a dozen ingredients and is just a bit fussy. I also have a recipe for potato salad that I have perfected over the years and I love it too, but it is really best when made the day before. Most of the time I really prefer not to even turn the stove on our grilling nights. I'm mean that kind of defeats the purpose of an easy weeknight meal don't you think?
In an effort to come up with some super easy barbeque sides, I have gone back into my family archives and revisited some of my mother and grandmother's favorites. One I really like is a combination of thinly sliced cucumbers with some red onion and sour cream. I also LOVE the spicy corn salad I featured last year and that's pretty darned easy too.
My newest addiction though is a pickle and pea salad (yes, you heard right) that I can't stay out of when there is a bowl of it in the fridge. I've updated the ingredients a bit to kick up the flavors but the original old fashioned recipe is in there somewhere. I promise you that you will be addicted to this unusual concoction and if you aren't, pack it in ice and ship it to me because I love the stuff.
Spicy Pea and Pickle Salad
Feel free to use fresh or frozen peas for this recipe but I prefer mine Texas church lady style with the gray/green ones out of the can, so shoot me.
1 – 15 ounce can peas, drained
1 tablespoon finely diced yellow or red onion
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 slices bacon, fried to crispy and chopped
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (mild or sharp depending on your preference)
2 medium dill pickles, chopped (approximately 1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons pickle juice
1 small fresh or pickled (for a milder flavor) jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts (I love the spicy flavored ones)
Place drained peas in a medium size bowl. Add the onion, eggs, bacon, cheese, pickles, pickle juice, jalapeno, garlic, salt pepper and mayonnaise. Gently stir to combine being careful not to break up the peas and eggs too much. Cover and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes or until chilled through.
This can be made a day in advance and a couple of tablespoons of milk or pickle or jalapeno juice can be added if the mixture seems a bit stiff.
Sprinkle with peanuts just before serving.
Serves 4 - 6 normal people. Serves 1 at my house.