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Santorini Split Pea Spread with Caper Relish

Photo: Iain Bagwell 

Hands-on time 47 mins
Total time 2 hrs, 30 mins

Serves 8 (serving size: 3/4 cup pea puree and about 1/3 cup caper relish)

For convenience, Kremezi calls for widely available yellow split peas, which are also commonly used in this Santorini-style dish. Both the pea puree and the relish can be made up to 3 days ahead and chilled in the refrigerator. You can substitute small brined capers, rinsed and drained, for salt-packed; if you do, you may want to omit or reduce the amount of red wine vinegar you use in the dish. This serves 8 as a main course or 16 as a small-plates meze dish. Sugars 6g (est. added sugars 1g)  


  • Peas:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Caper relish:
  • 3 tablespoons salt-packed medium capers
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound frozen pearl onions, thawed, patted dry, and halved
  • 2 cups halved and thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 pound chicory or curly endive, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sweet red wine (such as Mavrodaphne or sweet Marsala)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Maras pepper

Nutrition Information

  • calories 411
  • fat 19.8 g
  • satfat 2.6 g
  • monofat 13.6 g
  • polyfat 2 g
  • protein 12 g
  • carbohydrate 44 g
  • fiber 16 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 597 mg
  • calcium 52 mg

How to Make It

  1. To prepare peas, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add chopped onion and salt; sauté 5 minutes or just until tender. Place split peas in a large Dutch oven. Add sautéed onion and its oil; cover pea mixture with water by 4 inches. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer, skimming frequently, 5 minutes. Add turmeric and bay leaves; simmer 30 minutes or until peas are soft and almost dry, stirring occasionally. (Add warm water, if needed, to keep the peas covered as they cook.) The peas are done when they are very soft and almost dry. Remove bay leaves; discard. Place pea mixture in a food processor; process until smooth. Place puree in a large bowl; cool completely.

  2. To prepare caper relish, place salt-packed capers in a colander; rinse under lukewarm running water for 2 minutes or until they lose excessive saltiness. Drain capers well; pat dry with paper towels.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup oil. Add pearl and red onions; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add capers, chopped chicory, and remaining 1/4 cup oil; cook 4 minutes or until greens are wilted, stirring occasionally. Stir in wine; cook 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup water; reduce heat to low, and cook 8 minutes. Increase heat to high, and cook 16 minutes or until liquid evaporates and onions start to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat; stir in vinegar and pepper.

  4. Place pea puree in a shallow bowl, using a spoon to create a well in the center. Place caper relish in well.