Tailgate season is coming to a close, but we still have bowl games coming up, as well as the NFL playoffs. So humor me as I sneak this perfect tailgate dip into the lineup. Texas caviar, what a name! Credited with its invention is the legendary Austin-based Neiman-Marcus chef Helen Corbitt, who popularized it in the 1940s. Texas caviar is a cold black-eyed pea salad, with chiles, onions, and bell peppers that doubles as a dip for tortilla chips. This particular version of the recipe comes from my friend Lisa Fain, food blogger extraordinaire, and author of the newly released Homesick Texan Cookbook. Now most of the food we make around here gets shared among many—parents, boyfriend, friends, brothers, neighbors. But this one? I did not share. Mine. All. Mine. It’s that good.
Texas caviar can be served either as a little side salad, perhaps on some butter lettuce if you like, or it can be used as a dip, like salsa, for tortilla chips. You will find that if you make it as a dip, well, it takes a steady hand to keep the beans from falling of the chips. But, it’s well worth it. Enjoy!
Texas Caviar Recipe
- 4 cups of cooked black-eyed peas (2 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
- 8 green onions, just the green parts thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 jalapeño chile peppers, stems and seeds removed (wear gloves! do not touch your eyes after handling them!), finely chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced, or 1/2 cup of canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 In a medium bowl, stir together the black-eyed peas, green onion greens, cilantro, chopped jalapeño, tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic.
2 In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and cumin. Pour over the the black-eyed pea mixture. Stir to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Best chilled for several hours. Serve cold as a side salad or with tortilla chips.
Yield: Serves 4-6.