foodie fridays: texas caviar

When you hear the word caviar, what images come to mind?

Tuxedos?
Yachts?
Diamonds?
For me, the word caviar reminds me of that British reporter, Robin Leach. He was the host of the famous T.V. show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous that aired from the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s. Come on, you know you watched it! Anyways, he would always wish the viewer, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams” at the end of the show. I was only ten years-old at the time and thought there was no way in heck I would ever get to sip bubbly or eat caviar in my lifetime. Sigh.
Well, as it turns out, champagne wishes and caviar dreams don’t require you to have a wallet full of Benjamin’s. In fact, my now twenty-nine year-old self has had plenty glasses of champagne and tasted caviar, and I don’t roll around in an Aston Martin. Truth be told, I’d definitely give champagne an 11/10, but caviar, not so much. I realize that people consider caviar a delicacy and that’s all great and wonderful. But! Who wants to pay $1500 a pound for fish eggs? Not I.
So, let me introduce you to a kind of caviar that doesn’t require fancy packaging, a fishy smell, and will not break the piggy bank, Texas caviar. While vacationing in Steamboat Springs with my husband and in-laws a couple weeks ago, I quickly realized that I had much to learn. One, map reading is key to survival. Two, if it’s raining and you’re in the woods look for dry ground by a tree and stand under it to keep dry. Third, Texas caviar does exist.
Apparently I have been lost in the deep forest for most of my life because I’ve never heard of this caviar from Texas. When I asked my Southern mother-in-law if she’d ever heard about this black bean, corn, and everything but the kitchen sink concoction, she replied, “Oh yeah. Been makin’ it for years.” WHAT?! How could I not know about this delicious, fresh “caviar”?
Well, you can bet your sweet peach behind that I had her email me that recipe because there was no way this Northern girl was missing out on all the fun. Typically this recipe is made with black-eyed peas, but my mother-in-law, being ever so clever, swapped them for black beans and then added feta to really kick things up a notch.

The rest of the ingredients are pretty standard – corn, cilantro, red pepper, red onion, and red wine vinegar. Mix everything together in a large bowl, open a bottle of Shiner Bock and put on your cowboy boots and you’ll have Robin Leach wishing he was saying, “Cold draft wishes and Texas caviar dreams.”

Texas Caviar
(inspired by mother-in-law, Susie Grier)
Yields about 6 cups
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes + 4 hours to chill
Ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 corn on the cobs (or about 3 cups), husked, washed
2 15 oz cans black beans, drained, rinsed
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 jalapeno, deseeded, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
Feta cheese crumbles, garnish or mix in 1/2 cup (optional)
Directions: 
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Rub 1 tablespoon of butter on 1 corn cob, repeat with remaining three. Grill corn for 45 minutes, rotating to ensure even grilling. Once grilling is complete, remove kernels from cob. In a large bowl, combine corn kernels, beans, tomato, jalapeno, red onion, and red pepper. Mix together olive oil and red wine vinegar. Pour mixture over veggies and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with Feta or mix in about 1/2 cup if desired. Serve with tortilla chips!