Sunday, July 29, 2012

texas caviar


I had never heard of Texas caviar until a couple of years ago when one of my BFFs broke my heart by moving away from my dear Virginia to the much-much-too-far-away Lone Star State. Jen is one of the sweetest, most encouraging, most devoted, and, yes, most fashionable gals I know, and a send-off party for her deserved a full buffet of foods representing her new home. When my foodie research turned up this recipe, I immediately knew what my contribution would be to the menu. A black-eyed pea-based salsa full of peppers, tomatoes, onions, and garlic with a little kick of jalapenos and Tabasco? Yes, please.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case when you're eager to try new recipes, I forgot about this one after the party. Thankfully, it came to mind a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to decide on a dish for an outdoor movie soiree at another bestie's house. Craving something healthy after a week of indulgences and wanting a cool appetizer to combat the terribly hot and humid weather, I decided that this dish really should be brought out of retirement. Now I'm just left with the question of why I didn't do that sooner.

My alterations to the original recipe: swap out a jar of pimentos for a red bell pepper, exchange the parsley for cilantro, skip the oregano, and make my own vinaigrette - all of which I changed below.

Note: this dish really does taste best a day after it's made when the flavors have had a chance to sit and mingle together. Day 1 = good. Day 2 = great. You'll get the best results if you make it the night before and let it marinate for several hours.

Texas Caviar

3 16-oz cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed of all juice
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 canned or fresh jalapeño chiles, chopped (I use fresh)
1 firm, ripe, chopped tomato
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced
salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup canola oil

In a small bowl combine the cumin and vinegar. While whisking constantly, slowly add the oil in a thin stream until completely incorporated.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Poor the vinaigrette over and stir until everything is well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight, in a sealed or covered container.

Adapted from Epicurious

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