1. For the fritters: Place two-thirds of the black eyed peas, 1/4 cup of water, the olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor
to a smooth paste. Add the remaining peas and the scallions and pulse
4 or 5 times to break up the peas but not completely puree them. Scoop about a heaping tablespoon of the mixture at a time into your hands and form about 24 balls. (The balls do not need to be perfectly round--they are more authentic if roughly formed.) Put the cornmeal in a shallow baking dish
. Roll the balls in the cornmeal
, leaving them in the baking dish, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. For the sauce: Heat the peanut oil in a medium saucepan
over medium heat. Add the habaneros and onions
and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt and black pepper. When the tomatoes start to break down and get soft, put a lid on the pan, lower the heat and simmer
for about 10 minutes. Let the sauce cool slightly, and then blend in a food processor until smooth.
3. Pour 2 to 3 inches of peanut oil
in a large heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven
. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying
thermometer inserted in the oil registers 375 degrees F. Fry the fritters, in 2 or 3 batches, about 4 minutes per batch. Remove to drain
on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Season lightly with salt and serve with the spicy tomato sauce
on the side.