Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Texas Caviar Salsa - Mississippi Style

Texas Caviar, done up my way, Mississippi style. Sort of a take on a bean salad really, it's simply a mixture of your favorite canned beans, usually the addition of corn, and a variety of chopped raw vegetables, all tossed in a vinaigrette.
Texas Caviar, done up my way, Mississippi style. Sort of a take on a bean salad really, it's simply a mixture of your favorite canned beans, usually the addition of corn, and a variety of chopped raw vegetables, all tossed in a vinaigrette.

Texas Caviar Salsa - Mississippi Style

Fall is around the corner y'all - and thank goodness at least for a couple of days here, our temperatures have been much milder.  I said on Twitter the other day that you know you're a southerner when you think the thermometer reading in the 80s is "cool." It'll be awhile before things really cool down seasonally down here, but one thing is certain - football and party foods are just around the corner, and this salsa is perfect for tailgating or hanging around the big screen tv, come kickoff time. It's also great for holding back the troops for that last Labor Day cookout.

There are loads of "caviar" recipes out there, most of them called Texas Caviar, though quite a few recipes hail from Mississippi too. Even though I can claim roots in both territories, I'm staying out of that debate. Sort of a take on a bean salad really, it's simply a mixture of canned beans, usually corn, and a variety of chopped raw vegetables, all tossed in some kind of vinaigrette.

Mine is different from the classic Texas style version because I like to play around with the beans a bit. Instead of the usual black beans and pintos, I like to use canned red kidney beans and black eyed peas, and, of course, I have to use The Trinity - Vidalia onion, sweet green bell pepper, and celery, plus plenty of raw garlic. Then I add in some pimento peppers and chopped, pickled jalapeno. Garden fresh tomatoes round it out and are excellent right now while at their peak, but I also like to use canned Rotel tomatoes too, for their spicy kick - perfect for this salsa.

Instead of the typical bottled Italian dressing, I mostly use dry Italian dressing mix, with fresh extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, just a bit of spicy Creole mustard and some Tiger sauce, or a good hot sauce. Then give it a toss and leave it to mingle and marinate together in the fridge for several hours, giving it a gentle stir every now and again, and also before you put it out.

Great on some fancy crackers, or simple saltines, big corn chips or white corn tortilla chips, if you've never tried this poor man's "caviar" watch out! Once you start dipping into it, it really can be a bit addictive. I hope you enjoy my version.

Recipe: Texas Caviar Salsa - Mississippi Style

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 2 hours | Yield: About 8 to 10 servings


For the Dressing:
  • 1 envelope dry Italian dressing mix (like Good Seasons)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Creole or other spicy mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Tiger Sauce, or hot pepper sauce
For the Salsa:
  • 1 can black eye peas, drained
  • 1 can light red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can Mexicorn or whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar of pimento peppers, drained
  • 1/4 of a Vidalia or other sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk (rib) of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped, pickled jalapeno peppers
  • 4 large toes of garlic, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes, undrained

Whisk together the Italian dressing mix, olive oil, vinegar, mustard and Tiger sauce; set aside. In a colander, dump the black eyed peas, red kidney beans, corn and pimentos and let drain. Add to a large bowl. To that, add the onion, celery, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, chopped tomato and Rotel. Pour the dressing over and gently toss to coat. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.

Give the salsa a gentle stir before serving with your favorite crackers, scoop style corn chips or tortilla chips. If serving at a party, set out ramekins and a serving spoon for people to scoop out individual servings.

Cook's Notes: Mexicorn is a Green Giant brand of canned corn that contains a mix of red and green peppers. Rotel is a brand of diced tomatoes with green chilies.

Variation: Substitute black beans and pinto beans for the red kidney beans and black eyed peas, or use your favorite beans. Substitute a can of diced, drained tomatoes for the fresh tomatoes, and use a bottled commercial Italian dressing if you prefer.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on September 1, 2009
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  1. what a lovely salsa recipe. I do not have all the spices you have mentioned but we do our salsa very similar and it can last for a long time in the fridge! Great!

  2. Sounds like a winner - we'll have to give it a try.

  3. I think I'll make this during the Labor Day weekend. I made Lulu's L.A. Caviar a few weeks ago but decided I am not the best fan of balsamic vinegar. Your recipe sounds like it has a great flavor blend (and no balsamic, no offense to Jimmy's sister Lulu)

  4. LOVE this stuff. It's a great way to get veggies into your kid's too! Of course, being from Oklahoma, I call mine Oklahoma Caviar - and I think everyone's is a little different..I use red bell peppers, black beans, black eyed peas, white shoepeg corn and chopped black olives in mine!

  5. Hey, when it gets below 100 here in Phx, I'm a happy camper. I love the looks of this stuff. Looks like a great way to have black eyed peas :)

  6. I still haven't made one of these "caviars" but I've got at least 3 bookmarked. Adding this one too! I may just have to meld them all together. This sounds wonderful!

    Here's to cooler weather and football!

    Reading Drew Brees Memoir now. Love him!

  7. I bet this is an awesome recipe, it sure looks great...I am so allergic to onions I couldnt try this one but amazing bowl of beauty!

  8. My mother in law has always made "Texas" caviar with just the blackeyed peas, but I really love your addition of the other beans. You always have such good variations on your recipes. I suppose that's why I spend far too much time here :)
    Have a great week!

  9. I've had cowboy caviar before but not this. This looks very good and full of veggies that I will actually eat. Win-win.


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