Your definition of comfort food depends, of course, on what you find comforting, and for most of us it’s something nostalgic. Beyond that, it could be anything, really: A cupcake. Mac and cheese. Enchiladas. Fried rice.

I’ve got a lot of comfort foods, but one that I had nearly forgotten about is pea salad. It was a popular Sunday dish, potluck buffet item and even occasional barbecue side in the West Texas of my youth. My favorite versions were heavy on the mayo, the eggs and the cubed cheese. Diet food it isn’t.

I remembered it when I paged through Eddie Hernandez’s charming new book with Susan Puckett, “Turnip Greens & Tortillas” (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Hernandez, the Atlanta chef-restaurateur behind Taqueria del Sol, notes its Southern popularity but says he learned to make his version in South America. I’m happy for the influence, because he adds heat in the form of poblano and jalapeño peppers (while leaving out the cheese). One bite, and the comfort kicked right in.

Green Pea Salad With Roasted Chiles and Red Onion

Adapted from “Turnip Greens & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen,” by Eddie Hernandez and Susan Puckett (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).

8 servings (makes about 41/4 cups)


2 large eggs

1 poblano pepper, roasted, skinned, stemmed and seeds removed, coarsely chopped (see NOTE)

2 jalapeño peppers, roasted, skinned, stemmed and diced (remove some or all of the seeds and membranes for less spice; see NOTE)

4 cups frozen green peas, thawed

3 tablespoons diced red onion

2/3 cup mayonnaise


1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Fill a large bowl with cool water and ice. Pour a few inches of water into a medium saucepan fitted with a steamer basket or insert. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and place the eggs in the steamer basket. Cover and cook for 12 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the ice-water bath. Let sit for 5 minutes, then drain.

Peel, then chop the eggs and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the chopped peppers, peas, onion, mayonnaise and salt, stirring to incorporate. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed.

NOTE: Roast the poblano and jalapeños on a baking sheet in a 425-degree oven, turning once, until they begin to collapse and the skin looks loosened (about 20 minutes for the poblano and about 10 minutes for the jalapeños). Transfer to a bowl, cover with a plate and let steam for about 10 minutes, then peel and discard the skins and stems; reserve some of the jalapeño seeds to add to the salad, if you like more heat.

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