Although I have a few Southern roots, I have never been a big fan of black-eyed peas. But all that changed when I lived in Texas many years ago.
I came across a recipe from the late Helen Corbett, who once was the chef at the Zodiac Dining Room at Neiman-Marcus. She concocted a dish with black-eyed peas but served it as a salad and called it Texas Caviar.
To my mind, the name was ingenious — who but a Texan would take the humble black-eyed pea and elevated it to the status of caviar? She made the dish famous, and now many variations of it exist. Instead of a salad, I pair it with chips and serve it as a dip on New Year’s Day and never have any complaints.
When I shared the recipe with a friend, she vowed she would try it on her family. She regaled me with her New Year’s tradition: She opens a can of black-eyed peas, gives everyone a spoon and passes around the can. Hopefully, this year she will put aside the can and spoonfuls of good luck and enjoy my rendition of Texas Caviar with a chip.
Although Chef Corbett did not have black beans and corn in her recipe, the addition of those ingredients creates a colorful dip. After all the rich holiday foods, it is less heavy than those laden with cream cheese, and it is chockfull of vegetables and fiber. If you are not a fan of cilantro, you may always omit it.