This yellow split pea delicacy is a specialty of the Cycladic island Santorini. It is eaten either as a type of soup or served as a meze on the table with bread and the various garnishes.
- 2 cups yellow split peas, pickled over and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp salt
- 4-6 garlic cloves
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3-4 tbsp dry white wine
- 2 tbsp dried oregano, crumbled, plus more for garnish
- freshly ground black pepper
All or a few of the following toppings
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2-3 tbsp pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
- 4-5 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 medium tomato, cored, peeled, seeded, diced and drained
- 2-3 green garlic bulbs or ramps (white plus most of the green parts), thinly sliced
- a few sprigs of arugula, coarsely chopped
- a few sprigs of parsley, coarsely chopped
- extra-virgin olive oil
Place the split peas in a large pot, add water to cover by 4 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, skimming often, for 5 minutes.
Add the bay leaves and simmer for 40 minutes more, stirring occasionally and adding a little warm water as needed to keep the peas covered as they cook.
Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the peas are soft, but not completely dry.
Prepare the garnish of your choice, chop, wash and peel where necessary.
Puree the peas with a stick (immersion) blender, or transfer to a food processor and puree. Let the puree cool completely; it will thicken considerably.
In a large mortar, grind the garlic with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt into a smooth paste.
Add 2 cups or so of the puree and continue grinding to incorporate the garlic. Or use a blender or a small food processor.
In a large bowl, combine the garlic mixture, the remaining pea puree, the oil, 3 tablespoons each vinegar and wine, the oregano and pepper to taste, stirring vigorously to incorporate.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
If the spread seems too thick, add a little vinegar, wine or water to thin. Spread on a large plate, sprinkle with oregano, garnish with toppings of your choice and serve.