Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Texas Caviar

More peas! Black-eye peas are my favorite legume and a Southern staple. I have cherished memories of growing up in Alabama, sitting under the shade trees with my Mother, Grandmother, and Aunties, sipping ice tea, and shelling black-eye peas freshly picked from the garden. Shucking corn and snapping beans was also involved. I loved spending time with those women. I loved hearing their stories and listening to their joyful laughter. 

Back in the kitchen, as they cooked the fresh vegetables, cornbread, fried chicken, biscuits, fruit pies, I would sit in the corner, watching, listening, and try to be invisible. After the meal was cooked, eaten, and the kitchen cleaned up, they would sit around the kitchen table, and this is when the tales began to get juicy. Often, I would be sent from the room, with my Mother promising, "We'll put it in a bottle for you and you can listen to it later".  Of course, I would slink back into the kitchen after only a few minutes.

This is not a family recipe but one I have made and enjoyed for many years. It is delicious and satisfying when it is too hot to cook.

Texas Caviar
3 16-oz. cans black-eye peas, drained and rinsed
1 small jar chopped pimientos, juice included
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 bunch green onions, sliced
3 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed if desired, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 firm, ripe tomato, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp. (or more to taste) Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients  well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours. The longer it sits, the better it gets.

Serve with saltine crackers or corn chips, and pass coarse sea salt, the pepper grinder, and hot sauce.


  1. Yum, I am so glad you posted this! I love black eyed peas.

  2. Looks like an excellent marinated bean and vegetable salad, but I'm really confused as to why they'd call it "caviar."

    I figured "texas caviar" would be uniquely spiced, from a fish found in one of the bodies of water surrounding the state.

  3. Yum, I love black eyed peas. I'm in the Pacific Northwest, but my parents were from Oklahoma. Mom made black eyes. We visited my grandmother regularly and ate them there. My first impulse when I saw this was that it needed okra. Since okra doesn't grow here, too cool, too wet, clay soil, I guess I'm remembering something from Grandma.