If you don’t want or didn’t have time to soak the black-eyed peas overnight, simply power-soak them. Place the beans in a medium saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, then turn heat off. Let them sit for 45 minutes to an hour, then drain and proceed with recipe. This is the main event in the $50 dinner party. See the rest of the menu and step-by-step photos here.
- 1 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for frying (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 10 garlic cloves, 8 smashed, 2 grated
- 1 head of celery, exterior ribs and heart separated, chopped; plus tender leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 2 bunches of curly kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, drained
- 1 8-ounce piece Parmesan, with rind attached
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
- 10 slices crusty country or sourdough bread
Heat ¼ cup oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until browned, 10–12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a small bowl, leaving rendered fat and oil in pot. Reduce heat to medium. Add smashed garlic and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add onions, chopped exterior celery ribs, and red pepper; season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, 8–10 minutes.
Increase heat to high; add 1 cup water. Working in batches, add kale, covering pot and allowing it to steam between additions, until kale is wilted (it will look like an impossible amount of kale, but it shrinks like crazy). Season with salt and black pepper. Add peas along with cooked sausage and 11 cups water. Cut away rind from Parmesan and add rind to pot. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 45–60 minutes. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
While stew is cooking, combine lemon zest and juice, parsley, chopped celery heart and leaves, grated garlic, and ¾ cup oil in a medium bowl; season with salt and black pepper.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil (enough to cover bottom of skillet) in a large skillet over medium until oil is shimmering. Add as many slices of bread that can fit comfortably and cook until bottoms are deeply browned, 1–2 minutes. Flip, season with salt, and cook other side until deeply browned, 1–2 minutes. Transfer fried bread to a plate. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.
Place slices of fried bread in bowls. (Bread can be broken in half to fit, but don’t worry about pieces sticking out of bowl.) Fish Parmesan rind out of stew and discard, then ladle stew over bread. Drizzle with salsa verde and pass Parmesan at table for grating over each serving.