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Fish with collard greens & black-eyed peas?

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I'm having some friends over for dinner on Saturday and have promised them a bite of collard greens and black-eyed peas. I was also hoping to cook fish, and had in mind Keller's black sea bass with vanilla-saffron sauce.

Any ideas on how to combine? Is there a way to fix collard greens and black-eyed peas so that they'll work well on the plate with the fish, as a substitute for the parsnip puree and spinach that the recipe calls for? Or should I just count on serving them in separate plates? Or is there a good cream-sauce that I could use instead of the vanilla-saffron sauce that would work better with a traditional collard/black-eyed recipe?

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  1. IMO, collard greens and black eyed peas can work with fish but I wouldn't do the sea bass/vanilla-saffron thing. The flavor profiles of those three don't appeal to me at all.
    IMO, Fried catfish would be a better choice.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao

      +1 on the Fried Catfish. I have done this and it works beautifully with cornmeal crusted fish. Just pile the solids in the center of the bowl and set the fish on top so that it does not sit in the liquor. But you know that the Hopp'in John is for New Years day.

      1. re: todao

        Agreed I would move away from the sweet flavors. Anytime you introduce vanilla you invoke a sweet note to the dish. Black eye peas and collards are very savory. I would go in the direction of smoky and savory. Introduce some cumin or other flavors to enhance both. No problem with fish, just the vanilla. Just my take..

        1. Both collard greens and black eyeds tend to be served with a lot of liquid, which is going to get all into your fish sauce. I also agree that the trifecta is an odd one.

          1. I don't know Keller's recipe, but pairing that description with traditional black-eyed peas and greens sounds like too many wet ingredients, and like your sides are redundant to elements already in the entree.

            In theory---again, not knowing the details of the recipe---there's absolutely no reason you couldn't substitute pureed black-eye peas for pureed parsnips, and collard greens for spinach. Could be quite good (and original!), although I would give some thought to the idea that the parsnips were likely intended to highlight and emphasize the natural sweetness of the fish. Beans won't do that, and bitter collard greens could do the opposite.

            1. The vanilla saffron sauce does not pair well with the collards & black eyed peas. If you really want to serve the bass, just fry it up, preferably whole & coated with cornmeal or seafood breader. I saw that the Neely's did a creamed collard green dish on their show, you can go onto Foodnetwork.com to look it up but personally, I wouldn't mess up collards with all that.

              Growing up, my grandmother & mother served their blackeyed beans with the juice in which it was cooked in a bowl. I sometimes do it but I also sometimes make Hoppin John, which is cooking the blackeyed peas with rice. My favorite way to cook the greens is to simmer them in stock or water with some onion, crushed red pepper and some type of pork, be it ham hocks, bacon, salt pork, etc or smoked turkey necks, wings, etc. Cook until they fall apart. I'll be making these for New Years with a pot of black eyes the way my Grandmother cooked them, along with some fried fish, probably trout or whiting and maybe some fried chicken and hushpuppies.

              I agree catfish is perfect to go with as is bream, spots, croakers, butterfish, rockfish, etc.

              1. I think blackened fish goes well with greens and peas. Assume you will serve with skillet cornbread for the New Year's Day trifecta?