Friday, July 16, 2010

Cowboy Caviar



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Cowboy Caviar is a simple dish with an interesting history. You know, I'm sure, that black-eyed peas are served throughout the Southern United States on New Year's Day. Some, in a curious mix of tradition and superstition, believe that consumption of black-eyed peas on that day will bring luck and prosperity in the coming year. Cowboy, or Texas, caviar is an offshoot of that tradition. The dish was developed by Helen Corbitt, a Yankee, who did not like black-eyed peas. She was the head chef at Nieman Marcus and was asked to create an all-Texas menu that would include black-eyed peas. Athens, Texas is, after all, the black-eyed pea capital of the world. Hard pressed to find an existing recipe that met her high standards, she decided to pickle them, and created a dish that could be eaten with a fork or scooped up to the mouth on a tortilla chip. Nowadays, Texans like their "caviar" year round and serve it at barbecues and other informal gatherings. While the name remains a mystery, cowboy caviar is a a nice change of pace from standard bean salads that are usually served on those occasions. It's easy to make and, like all pickled salads, can be made well ahead of serving. The original recipe consists of black-eyed peas and onions that are marinated in a vinaigrette. That sounded a bit stark to me,so I decided to use a recipe I found in the Saveur magazine. It is only slightly more complicated and produces a lovely dish that uses less oil than the original. I like to serve this as a salad option for picnics and barbecues. Culinary reputations are not built on this kind of dish, but it will do your good name no harm. Here's the recipe.

Cowboy Caviar...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Saveur magazine

Ingredients:

2 ( 15-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 serrano or jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 chopped red onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
1) Combine beans, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, chiles, bell pepper and onion in a large bowl. Toss well.
2) Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Yield: 6 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Asparagus and White Bean Salad - One Perfect Bite
Mexican Black Bean Salad - One Perfect Bite
Kidney Bean Salad - Lisa's Kitchen
Spring Fava Bean and Fennel Salad - Simply Recipes
Mediterranean White Bean Salad - Budget Bytes
Diner's Journal: Bean Salad - New York Times

70 comments:

The Words Crafter said...

This sounds like something I would love, even with the jalapeños! My brother, who has tasted the hottest peppers in the world, would gobble this up. Thanks! Going into my 'family gatherings' file. Have a great Friday!

Sonia said...

Oh I'm going to have to make this over the weekend! Thanks for sharing...I love black eyed peas!

Miss Bloomers

Claudia said...

Sometimes you are not building a culinary reputation - sometimes you are just pleasing others and yourself and this does exactly that!

chayacomfycook said...

I like the name of the recipe.

This is such an interesting recipe and I can imagine the heat that comes from it.

Bo said...

I have eaten this many times, but I never knew the story behind it.

Regina said...

Delicious. Love it.
Happy weekend Mary.

hobby baker said...

I Adore Texas caviar! Haven't found my own favorite recipe though so will definitely try this one out. Thanks!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

This is a mouthwatering recipe! I have had cowboy caviar before but did not have a recipe until now!
Love it!
Yvonne

Alea said...

I was going to post my cowboy caviar recipe this weekend (making it for a party), but have decided to just tweet yours instead. :-)

Create. Snap. Eat. said...

What a beautiful dish with a nice mingling of ingredients!

Monet said...

As a native Texan, I so appreciated this post! I have had this "dip" many times, but I had no idea it had such an interesting origin. I can't wait to share this story with my grandparents next week!

Angie's Recipes said...

I adore the black eyed beans...going to find some to make this one.
Thanks for the interesting story!
Angie

jelena said...

we have a salad here that is exactly the same only sweet corn is added...the same dressing...everything...don't have cowboys here, but it looks like the recipes around this globe are just different variations on the same theme...I love that it keeps in the fridge for a long time...

penny aka jeroxie said...

I do like the story! But I am still not a big bean person.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Interesting. This sounds great but it is a huge problem finding black eyed beans in Europe. Diane

Priya said...

Such a delicious and interesting caviar..

Sushma Mallya said...

so beautiful ..

Ana Powell said...

In Portugal we have a very similar salad / side dish like yours, we just add either some canned flaked tuna or cod.
Really delicious.
Wishing you a great weekend ♥

Cherine said...

I love black eyed peas. This dish looks fabulous!

pigpigscorner said...

Great to know the story behind! This makes a really good side.

Nina Timm said...

I love the name Cowboy Caviar....immedietely you have the attention of little reluctant-to-eat-beans children!!

Sage said...

I do love coming here. I live in northern Ontario Canada. Learning something new about your corner every visit. Now that's a great looking bean salad!
Rita

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

this is a beautiful and healthy dish! Have a nice weekend ahead.

MaryMoh said...

Looks delicious and healthy. Is there any cow girl version? :P

Joanne said...

I've somehow become a pickling fanatic lately and really love black-eyed peas! Oh does this dish sound good. I love that you told us the history behind it...what a fun story!

Shellbelle said...

This is the best recipe for Cowboy Caviar I've ever seen!

Yes, I eat black-eye peas every New Year's Day. Still waiting for the prosperity part to kick in, but happy in the tradition.

I love Hoppin' John, black-eyed peas cooked with onions, jalapenos, tomatoes and whatever else I feel like throwing in that day. Served over rice with collard greens and cornbread. Leftovers from yesterday are still in the fridge and I can't wait for supper time!

Have a wonderful day.

Foodessa said...

Mary...I always enjoy a tasty nutritional side dish like this one...just don't forget to accompany it with a crusty loaf of artisanal bread ;o)

Ciao for now,
Claudia

Vegetarian Yogini said...

this is one to try for me! so inviting and colourful! The story is captivating as well...

Jenn said...

I so enjoy cowboy caviar, but I really never knew it's history. Thanks for the inside info on it! Your picture looks fantastic, I'd eat a bowl of that right now...even with my coffee :) Have a wonderful Friday, Mary!

Martha said...

On the prairie, someone usually brings this dish when there is an appetizer pot luck. It is good -- even though we're not in Texas nor are we cowboys -- like the name Cowboy Caviar much better than Texas Caviar.

Pam said...

Yum! The caviar looks delicious and is a must try! Great story and you have a wonderful weekend, Mary!

Susi said...

Any good bean recipe is appreciated in my house and this sounds like a simple but delicious one! Thanks for sharing!

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

I love anything with beans, this would be no exception. I need to make something like this, soon, thanks!

Cathy said...

This looks delicious, Mary, and I think it would be wonderful served with slices of grilled flank steak and fresh corn. I think I just found my weekend menu.

bellini valli said...

I must admit I have not heard of this before Mary, but it is certainly going on my list of things to try.

Valérie said...

I like the name of this dish! And it sounds ideal for summer!

PeggyR said...

This is a great summer dish!

RamblingTart said...

I'm so excited to try this, Mary! :-) I've had black eyed peas sitting in my pantry for months waiting for inspiration. :-)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Mary, I'm one of those southern girls who eats black-eyed peas on New Year's Day... But--we make Hoppin' John....

I do like BEP though... SO--your recipe looks good... I may have to have it without the chili's though -since I don't care for spicy foods anymore (or should I say that they don't care for me)....

Sounds good... Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Margie said...

I've never had black-eyed peas, but your Cowboy Caviar looks too good to pass up. Nice change of pace from black bean dips which seem more popular in my neck of the woods. Most impressive is your photo... I know it can be difficult to make beans look beautiful, but you've done it.

Eliana said...

Hmmm - this looks so hearty and delicious :)

As for my cookies, you can really make them with any type of jam/jelly that you like. I made mine with strawberry and loved them.

John8com said...

You know, these strange food combinations making my mouth water is now getting ridiculous. I'm glad I don't live anywhere near your house...as you'd never keep me out of your kitchen. Given the new diet, I'm resisting the print button too. God bless.

Brad

Taylor said...

Cowboy caviar is so delicious! I love eating it with pita chips...a great summer appetizer!

StephenC said...

I haven't thought about black-eyed peas in a while. I love them and I'll try your recipe very soon.

Kelly said...

Mary - I never knew the history of your dish. I love you pointing out that she was in fact a yankee. :-)

Barbara said...

I just love your history, Mary. I knew southerners ate them on New Year's Day (cooked to within an inch of their life) but did not know the Texas Caviar story, nor have I ever eaten it.
Your recipe really looks delicious and it will be fun to add such an interesting dish to my repertoire!
Have a lovely weekend!

The Empress said...

OOOh yes!

That's what I said when I saw this post.

I LOVE cowboy caviar. It is so refreshing in the summer, and is a meal when complete with corn chips. I love it.

I have been using a recipe my deli gave me, but yours has a different , less vinegary twist to it. I'll try it.

Adventures in Domestic Cooking said...

This looks fresh and yummy, and the story behind is lovely too!!=)

Faith said...

I'm from the South and even when it was time to take the obligatory spoonful at New Years I would cringe, but cowboy caviar is something I have grown up with and make the black eyes peas taste at least edible! Plus you are right, this is a great salad to bring to a BBQ because it will hold up well!

Anna said...

Oh! I never had black eye peas, but it sounds yummy, and great story. Loved the Picture.

A Year on the Grill said...

this has indeed been around BBQ's year round in KC. Never heard the origin before, nor had a decent recipe. yours sounds MUCh better than mine. Great post

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm all over this.

muddywaters said...

Mary,

About a month ago, you left a very kind comment on my blog. I wanted to thank you for visiting, and leaving such kinds words.

It took time to get back to you because I was dealing with a death in the family.

I hope to return to your blog often.

Thanks,
muddywaters

DailyChef said...

I really enjoy this dish, so it was neat hearing the history behind it! Thanks!

Chef E said...

You know how us Texan's are he he we call it our own! Texas Caviar, lol, I love this dish, and yours makes me want to run out and buy the supplies to have it this weekend!

Katerina said...

This salad looks lovely Mary. I love black eyed peas.

Lucie said...

Anything pickled always tickles my fancy--add a Southern flavor and you've got me! Thanks for this recipe, Mary!

Rosadimaggio63 said...

Buongiorno Mary e buon fine settimana :-))

Suman Singh said...

That looks irresistibly delicious...

Erica said...

This is a recipe my husband will love......cute name for a recipe. thanks for sharing. Have a happy wewkend.

Katie said...

I had cowboy caviar for the first time earlier this summer, and I fell in love. I still haven't made any, though, but you've inspired me to get to it!

RV said...

I will love this vegetarian caviar with all those ingredients.. looks and sounds really yumm.

♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

i could already feel the "hot" ness of this dish... i love the name of the dish too.

cheers,
Malou

scrambledhenfruit said...

Love pickled bean salads, but have never tried black eyed peas in one. My kids are moving to Texas next week- I'll have to give them a preview! Thanks for sharing :)

Debinhawaii said...

cowboy caviar is such a fun dish. I am going to have to try it scooped up with chips--that sounds perfect!

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I make this recipe, using different beans, and everyone always loves it for its freshness. People often ask for the recipe.

YUM

Diana (Di) said...

Mary, I made 'Texas' caviar two weeks ago - very similar in ingredients and a recipe we have enjoyed for well over thirty years and still love it. By the way, that pepper relish recipe you posted is absolutely delightful! Hope you are having a blessed weekend.

Sage Trifle said...

One of my favorites and yours sure looks great. Black eye peas are tied in first place (with pintos) as my favorite bean. And I certainly would not start a year without them.

Kevin said...

I have been wanting to try cowboy caviar for a while now. It sounds nice and simple, healthy and tasty.

Shreela said...

I *loved* learning the history of this dish, thanks! Even though my parents moved us to Texas when I was a baby (almost 50 yrs ago!), I'd never heard of this dish until about 10'ish years back.

With a Yankee mother from the old days, I grew up eating plain beans (yes, very sad LOL). The first time I tasted Boston Baked Beans, I ate 3 bowls! I didn't care for Three Bean Salad, because the yellow beans squeaked my teeth. Next "fancy" beans I was treated to was Hoppin John, kind of similar to Cowboy Caviar, except everything is cooked. But at least we had cornbread to eat it with.

Ever since discovering Cowboy/Texas Caviar - made by a Yankee no less, ROFL - that's what we've eaten every New Year's Day, to bring in prosperity for the new year. Even DH prefers Texas Caviar over his adding Chow Chow to his BEP's.

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