Super Bowl Superstars
Fitness Favorite: Texas Caviar with Honey Habanero Lime Vinaigarette

I love football.  I LOVE football.  I LOVE FOOTBALL.

The Super Bowl, that crowning culmination of a season of the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, is almost bittersweet, as it means no more football. Weekends return to commitments more pressing, less entertaining, often.  Cars get washed. Laundry gets completed. beers remain in the fridge.

The Super Bowl is much like New Year's Day to me in so many ways that I postpone any discussion of resolutions until that day, after, and, I celebrate the event with black-eyed peas.  Like good southerners would any New Year's Day. And now that this southern girl has shifted a bit left, to Texas (I'll let y'all mull the political irony of shifting left to Texas, surely a move that's left me, perhaps neutral?), I'll be, like so many other Texan hosts, serving my peas Texas-style. And there will likely be few Texas big-game celebrations that won't follow suit.  We love our caviar down here, y'all.

Texas Caviar, it is said, was so named by the Driskill Hotel, where Helen Corbitt, who would go on to be food director of Dallas' Neiman Marcus, brought her beloved "Pickled Black-Eyed Pea Salad" to the Lone Star State Capitol, Austin. You can read more about its colorful history in this Dallas Morning News' Try Some Texas Caviar, and Ms. Corbitt, herself, in Texas Monthly's, Tastemaker of the Century: Helen Corbitt

Every traditional Texas cook has her favorite, often signature version of this cowboy-meets-Madison Avenue unlikely hybrid, as uniquely Texan as the New York expatriate, Ms. Corbitt, came to be. Take a peek at Ms. Corbitt's original recipe, and use it, as I have here, as a building block, adding and subtracting as you wish, making your very own signature Texas Caviar.


1T Dijon mustard
3T honey
1T apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
3/4 cup grapeseed oil (or any favorite neutral-flavored oil)
1t dried oregano, to taste
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1-2 Habanero peppers, de-seeded, de-pithed, (how-to's, below, and consider wearing gloves. The capsaicin in peppers is difficult to rinse from skin, and should you rub your eyes, or any other membrane, whoa Nellie  that's going to burn!)

16 oz frozen blackeyed peas, thawed (by running under warm running water in a colander)
About 1/4 cup, each, celery, carrot, red onion, red and/or green bell pepper

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, honey, cider vinegar and lime juice until well-blended. Slowly whisk in oil, in a drizzle, continuing until all is well emulsified. Stir in remaining ingredients, to taste, adjusting for personal preference. Don't forget the salt. It really perks these oil-based dressings right up.

Blanch thawed, frozen black eyed peas in boiling, salted water for roughly 5 minutes, removing to an ice bath to retard cooking and retain crispness, until cooled.  Drain.

To dressing, add peas and chopped vegetables, tossing to blend well.  Correct seasonings. Allow to marinate 8 hours, to overnight.  Serve cold or room temperature.  (And wait to you see what I've done with the leftovers later this week!)

Some tips:

  • All vegetables in this salad should be chopped uniformly, in about a 1/4" dice.  
  • Many cooks use canned peas, like the original recipe.  I have the fortune of having fresh peas from the summer's garden, preserved by blanching and freezing, and it's time to use last season's peas. Dried peas, cooked, can be used, but certainly this will make an easy, quick prep not so easy, and not so quick.
  • Feel free to substitute or add herbs, spices, and seasonings as you desire.  Any citrus, or none at all. Any vinegar, or not. How about cilantro, garlic, lemon, apple cider, wine vinegar, balsamic??  Yes, yes, yes, yes.  Brown sugar instead of honey?  SURE! THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER CAVIAR!
  • Scared of that hot chile, the habanero, lime vinaigrette? Heck, omit any or all. Truly, make this one your own. Use your favorite dressing, use mild jalapenos, don't use peppers at're the boss. (Well, not really THE BOSS. I mean you're very cool, but there's only one Bruce Springsteen.)

Behold the much maligned habanero pepper. Unabated, it's assertive heat can be too much to handle, but with a little cautious prep work, the unique flavor profile of the habanero can be enjoyed without the pain usually associated with this bright and robust chile pepper.  Wash pepper, and cautiously slice in half lengthwise. (You may consider wearing gloves if your skin is sensitive to capsaicin, the active ingredient in peppers.) With a sharp, small, paring blade, remove seeds, and white pith along the interior ribs of each half.  Slice into lengthwise strips, and then slice across strips, yielding a mince that enhances, yet does not overpower. 

So, why a fitness favorite?  Well it's the fiber, primarily, an important element of a healthy diet, and one too often lacking from our own, that  makes this little black-specked legume so attractive. One half-cup serving of black eyed peas provides roughly 15% of the recommended dietary intake of fiber, with only 70 calories and that's just the beginning. Discover the additional health and fitness benefits of the south's favorite legume from Fitday's Nutrition of Black Eyed Peas.

And, what, you may ask, just IS this Fitness Favorite? Well, friends, welcome to the newest feature on Notes From Maggie's Farm-- Fitness Favorites. Beyond merely meatless, Fitness Favorites are those go-to deceptively delicious, yet healthy and satisfying options that do their diligent duty to keep the continuing fight for fitness interesting and tasty. I'd love to hear what you think, and how these dishes may fit into your own healthy eating plans.

All that said, let's cut to the chase. Who ya like? The 'Hawks or the Broncos?  Do you have a horse in this race?  A dog in this hunt?  Or will you be skipping the whole thing altogether (GASP!)?  

And what are your snacking plans?  We'll have more, later this week on Notes From Maggie's Farm

Y'all, it's great to be back.


  1. I'm glad that you're back. I'm thinking Bronco's on the big day.

    1. I am rooting for the team whose coach is the snazziest dresser, I believe. It's a very technical, not often called-upon interpretation of the odds. Not quite as useful as the point spread, but I'm pushing for it.

  2. This is such a delicious sounding variation on the standard! Thanks for the links about the history of this recipe, too. I had no idea it was Helen Corbitt! I have several of her cook books that I inherited form my grandmother.

  3. Hi Hilah!

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Never one to leave well enough alone, I've taken liberties that I hope Ms. Corbitt can look down upon with approval. lol I am looking at a copy of her cookbook on my shelf now. I did not come from Texas cooks stock, but I truly enjoy creating my own legacy of collective Texas lore.

    Many thanks,


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