During our Tastes Like Freedom party, we grilled pizzas, potato and paneer skewers and eggplant for baba ganoush. But I knew I’d need a few things I could whip together beforehand and toss on the table. I remembered I hadn’t made one of my favorite dishes this summer — Texas Caviar. I realize this reveals just how pretentious I can get, but I tried several times to think of a better name for the dish. I settled on Salsa Fresca for the menu for the party … but at least one friend was horrified, thinking I’d taken the Tequila Fresca idea a bit too far and turned it into food. Hadn’t thought of that.
The appeal of the dish is that it’s so easy. You open cans. You put the contents together. You pour on some dressing. You chill it. You immediately remove it from the fridge and eat an inappropriate amount to make sure the flavors are right. You chill it again. You serve it. You continue to eat an inappropriate amount, this time in front of your guests.
I’ve tried to fancy up the flavors quite a bit … and am convinced that the real secret is Seven Seas Italian dressing. Fancy yours up as you like, but the dressing will do the trick.
There are many ways to do this. Here’s how I made mine:
Texas Caviar (aka Salsa Fresca, aka Cowboy Caviar)
- 2 cans black beans
- 2 cans black-eyed peas
- 1 can corn
- 1 can white corn
- 1 can hominy
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro*
- 3 bell peppers (red, orange and yellow)*
- 1 bottle of Seven Seas Italian Dressing
- 2 avocados*
- Fritos Scoops (yes, Fritos Scoops)
Open cans. Pour all contents into a colander. Rinse. Drain.
Eat a Frito. It’s OK. Everything else here is so healthy. Oh. Yeah. That was good. You haven’t had Fritos in a while. You try not to keep junk food around the house, but … these are for making this fancy dish. How long do we let this drain? Eat another Frito. Hmmm. I thought I didn’t like Fritos. But. Yeah, eat another one. Hmmm. Do I like Fritos? I think I like Fritos. Eat four more.
Are the vegetables drained? No, wait. See — did you see? Something just dripped. It’s not ready. Let’s eat more Fritos.
OK. Chop of the peppers into very small pieces. If you’re not sure if you’ve done it right, consult a Frito Scoop. Did your pepper pieces scoop nicely into your Frito Scoop? Good. You did it right.*
Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems. Chop them up. Lots.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Pour about 3/4 of the bottle of dressing into the bowl.
Chill overnight. Before serving, dice avocados, then mix into the bowl.*
*These are all the “optional” steps. I reckon if you want to get real Texan with it, you ain’t need nothing ain’t come from cans. Is that how people from Texas talk? I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. Anyhow, I’ve learned through careful experimentation (read: I eat a lot of this stuff) that the peppers are nice but not crucial, chilling overnight helps but is not critical and that the salad dressing will likely help the avocados from turning brown.