The Exorcist kind of ruined split peas for a lot of people. But in my husband’s family and in mine, there’s nothing more beloved than a bowl of split pea soup simmered with a ham bone. So I thought I’d take everything great about the flavors of split pea soup and reimagine them as a salad, thereby eliminating the color and texture associations that tend to turn people off.
- Place the split peas and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium pot and fill with enough water to cover the peas by 1 inch. Cut 1 shallot in half lengthwise and add it to the pot along with half of the garlic and all of the thyme sprigs.
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the peas are tender but not mushy or falling apart, about 15 minutes. Drain in a colander, pick out and discard the thyme and shallot, and place the split peas in a medium bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, slice the remaining shallot crosswise into paper-thin rounds. Place the slices in a small bowl with cold water to cover and an ice cube. Soak until ready to use.
- Slice the bacon in half lengthwise and slice the strips ¼-inch thick. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Drizzle with oil and add the bacon and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned and crisp and the fat has rendered, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the remaining half of the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Whisk the mustard in followed by the vinegar and the ⅓ cup of the oil. The vinaigrette won’t be fully emulsified, but don’t worry—it’s still a vinaigrette and it will still make the salad delicious.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the warm vinaigrette into the bowl of split peas, then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and the chives. Gently fold everything together. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.
- Drain the shallot slices and transfer them to paper towels. Blot dry, then fold into the split peas.
- Place the lettuce and radishes in a large bowl and toss with a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt. Gently fold in the split peas and serve.
- DOUBLE-DUTY DRESSING: There’s nothing this vinaigrette doesn’t elevate, from grains of any sort, to spinach leaves and bitter greens like endive and chicory, to simply grilled chicken or pork.