Wednesday, November 26, 2014

{Holiday Grub} Texas Caviar

This original Texas Caviar recipe creates a colorful, cold and crunchy side with zesty, fresh flavor. Black-eyed peas, mushrooms, celery, tomato and onion marinate in flavorful Italian dressing, making an easy and popular dish that is sure to become a family favorite.

Ok everyone. I should have gotten this up on the blog, like, a week ago, but in order to provide delicious, scrumptious pictures I would have had to make it, and then of course eat it, and that would have (selfishly) ruined it for me for Thanksgiving because I wouldn't be craving it anymore. YES. I seriously plan out my craving vs. eating schedule and weigh it's importance higher than my editorial schedule. I am pregnant, ok?

So, there are a lot of impostor Texas Caviar recipes online and on Pinterest that add silly things like mayonnaise, peppers or corn. While all of that is good and well, it needs to stay the HELL out of my Texas Caviar. This recipe is an original, from my wonderful grandmother Maxine, and there are simply no substitutes that will be tolerated by my palate - ever. (I am so dramatic.) Unlike the other Texas Caviar recipes that call it a dip (as in with a chip), this dish is meant to be served as a cold and crunchy side, along side other holiday favorites such as dressing, green bean casserole, etc. OMG, my mouth is seriously watering while I am typing; I have a problem.

First, the ingredients:

- 2 cans of plain black-eyed peas DRAINED AND RINSED * (don't get adventurous and cook your own. The canned ones are just fine for this dish. Just make sure you don't get any with other stuff in it, like jalapenos, etc.)

- 1 can of mushrooms DRAINED (pieces and stems are fine, I prefer the ones that are salted, but if you get the ones with no salt added, you can season with salt to your liking at the end.)

- 1 large tomato diced (or the equivalent. My mom swears by the Campari tomatoes in the plastic packages because they are always good and fresh tasting. I used Campari tomatoes and used 3 of them because they were a little on the small side.)

- 1 cup of diced celery (I honestly added more than that, I did 5 stalks because the celery is where you get the addictive crunch in this dish, plus the color is lovely.)

- white/yellow onion diced to taste (This also provides the crunch, but a little goes a long way, so I cut only about 1/4 of an onion)

- 8 oz bottle of Italian dressing *

- Coarse sea salt as needed


The most important things I put an asterisk by in the ingredients. One sad year I did not drain my black-eyed peas and this dish was ruined. I dump those bad boys in a colander and let them rinse very well in the sink under running water.

After you drain and rinse the peas, you can be as neat about chopping up the vegetables as you would like. I tend to like everything relatively the same size in a dish like this, so I used the pea as a size comparison and split the celery stalks length-wise before chopping them up. I also chopped the drained mushrooms up roughly because some of them were really big.

Everything goes into a medium sized bowl. Give it a stir.

Add the Italian dressing, an entire 8 oz bottle, and stir it up. This is another thing I am particular about. Don't get too fancy with the Italian dressing y'all. This kind is the go-to kind. I'm sure there are better ones for your salad-eating purposes, but for your Texas Caviar purposes, go Wish Bone or go home.

At this time you can give it a little taste test, and if you wish you can add some coarse sea salt if you feel it necessary. I added just a couple pinches, as my canned mushrooms didn't have salt added to them (rude). 

Your Texas Caviar yummy deliciousness looks like this: 

Isn't it pretty? It's perfect.... almost. Another INTEGRAL step is that this dish tastes 1,000 times better if you let it set and marinate (covered of course) in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours. I'm letting mine set for 24 hours... While I go in and "taste test" it every couple hours just to make sure the flavors are marinating well. Wink, wink. 

Flavor close up:

Maybe I have a problem. I'm just in love with this dish. I hope that you like it too. 


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