Cowboy caviar, also called Texas caviar, features fresh produce and can be served hot or cold. Start with canned black beans and black-eyed peas. Fresh ingredients include tomatoes, avocado, onions, garlic, corn, jalapeños, bell pepper and cilantro. Traditional vinaigrette dressings include olive oil, vinegar, fresh citrus and spices.
To start cowboy caviar, open and drain a 15-ounce can of black beans and a 15-ounce can of black-eyed peas. Place in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside.
Finely chop the fresh produce, except for the avocado, to taste. For more heat from the jalapeños, finely mince the whole peppers, including the seeds. One or two medium jalapeños add a fair amount of heat without interfering with flavor. Add the vegetables to the bowl, and stir gently but thoroughly. Taste and re-season as necessary. Dice the avocado into a separate bowl, spritz with fresh citrus juice to preserve color, and set aside.
Next, make the dressing. In a small jar with a lid, combine 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar with a about a teaspoon of olive oil, fresh lemon or lime juice, sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Close the jar, and shake to mix the ingredients.
Add the avocado, and then pour the dressing over the dish. Serve warm, or refrigerate 20 minutes to 2 hours, and serve.