Texas Caviar | December 8, 2012

Blackeye peas are very big in East Texas. I think it’s because they grow well there. East Texas, as all Austinites know, refers to the upper east of Texas, not the lower east near the coast. It’s more like east of Dallas. East Texas is a lot more like Louisiana and other parts of the South than other parts of Texas. For instance, the East Texas people know about grits with their eggs. In other parts of Texas, you are more likely to see hash brown potatoes with their breakfast.

Texas Caviar can be used as a dip with tortilla chips at a party or as a side salad or as a vegetable with brisket or barbecued chicken. The little bit of jalapeno gives it a nice bit of zing. This is the recipe I used, minus the Essence. I have a cabinet full of seasonings and Emeril’s Essence is not in there.  I am throwing in a Threadgill’s recipe at the end to give credit to an actual Austin establishment. Ironically, the Threadgill’s recipe has no jalapeno pepper in it. In addition, just because I thought it would taste good, I added Green Giants white shoepeg corn to mine (drained, of course). That’s a throw-back to my North Carolina roots.

Texas Caviar

  • 3 cups cooked, cooled, and drained black-eyed peas
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced or very thinly sliced
  • jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Emeril’s Southwest Essence (or use 1/2 tsp. each of cumin, garlic powder and paprika)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Homemade tortilla chips, for serving, or store bought tortilla or corn chips

In a bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid (such as a canning jar), combine the black-eyed peas, olive oil, red wine vinegar, onion, jalapenos, and Southwest Essence and seal tightly. Turn jar over several times to combine ingredients, then refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 3 days, turning the jar several times a day to redistribute ingredients.

When ready to serve, let black-eyed pea mixture come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes, then add the cilantro and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with the Homemade Tortilla Chips.

Threadgill’s Restaurant’s Texas Caviar

4 cups cooked black-eyed peas, drained and cooled
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup diced red onion
1 green or red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper


Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir again before serving.

* Professional Recipe

This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.

Texas Caviar with Shoepeg Corn

Texas Caviar with Shoepeg Corn


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