Introduction: Texas Caviar - the Most Simple, Delicious, and Healthy Dip/Side Ever

With summer in full swing, now is the time to take advantage of  the the fantastic sun ripened produce that is readily available. In this Instructable I will demonstrate how to make a true crows pleaser that is not only simple and delicious but also very healthy and extremely versatile: Texas Caviar.

A well balanced recipe should encompass as many flavor elements as possible in order to give a full an satisfying eating experience. This recipe for Texas Caviar will feature elements of sweet, salty, umami (savory), and aromatic with some acid to make it really pop. I can think of no other dish that so comprehensively tastes like summer time and can play so many roles. It is a great dip for chips or crackers as well as an outstanding side dish to complement grilled foods.

The ingredients you will need include:
  1. Sweet Yellow Corn on the Cob (3 ears)
  2. White Onion (1/2 large onion)
  3. Tomato (1 with seeds removed)
  4. Black Beans (1 can, low or reduced sodium)
  5. Cilantro (1/2 bundle)
  6. Jalapeno (seeds left in. After all, this is Texas Caviar)
  7. Lime
  8. Salt
  9. Black Pepper (fresh ground, of course)
  10. Garlic Powder

Now, without further ado, lets get cooking!

Step 1: Wash and Prep Your Vegtables

First, open your can of black beans an thoroughly rinse them with cold water. As always, I highly recommend using reduced sodium beans because this will give you more control over how much total salt you add to the recipe. With the beans rinsed and drained, add them to a large mixing bowl.

Rinse your tomato, jalapeno, lime, and half a bundle of cilantro. We will be peeling the onion so there is not much point in rinsing it but I usually do anyway.

Cut your onion in half and put one half away for use in a different dish. Cut the top off of you tomato and use a finger to remove the seeds from the pockets. The seeds contain a lot of water which we don't want in our Texas Caviar. With that done, dice your tomato and 1/2 onion into uniform pieces. For good texture in the final dish you want your onion and tomato to be diced in to chunks similar to the size of the black beans and corn kernels which we will add.

Roll your lime one the cutting board under your palm to release the juices inside. Cut the lime in half and set aside for the time being. Mince your cilantro and jalapeno into small bits. When you are done your prepped vegetable should look similar to what I have shown.

Add your vegetables to the mixing bowl containing your black beans. Toss them all together and squeeze your lime over top of the mixture. The lime will not only add brightness to the flavor of the dish but also keep everything fresh longer. Vinegar is another possible choice of acidic element that you could use in place of citrus juice but I like lime for this application.

Since we are using lime, be sure to zest it into the mixture! The zest of the the lime (the thin colored layer on top of the white colored pith of the skin) contains a ton of citrus oil and will really enhance the aromatic aspect of our concauction.

Step 2: Grill and De-Cob Your Corn

The next step is to grill your corn over medium heat. Grilling it will bring out the sweetness in the corn and also add a rich grilled flavor to the Texas Caviar. The first thing you will need to do is shuck the corn and remove as much silk from it as possible. If some silk remains, don't worry. These fine threads will burn off as the corn grills.

For more details on how to get you grill going just right check out my detailed desription included in one of my other grilling instructables at:

Once your corn is grilled on all sides and looks similar to when I have shown it is done. You should look for some light charring, a deepening of the yellow color, and just a little puckering on the surface of a few of the kernels to tell you that grilling is complete.Let it cool for a few minutes so that you don't burn yourself working with it. Next, use a sharp knife run down the sides of the corn to remove the kernels from the cob. Don't cut too deep since you don't want to get into the tough inner cob part.

Step 3: Add Your Corn and Seasoning to the Mix

Add the grilled corn into your mixture. Add salt, fresh ground black pepper, and garlic powder to the bowl and toss everything together until it is well mixed. Taste the results and add more seasoning as required to fit your tastes.

Congratulation! You have just made Texas Caviar! Eat it with chips, take it to a picnic, serve it as a side, use it to repair cracking in the sidewalk; whatever your heart desires! In the next step I'll show you what I did with this batch.

Step 4: Serve It Up!

Texas Caviar makes a great complement to grilled food and adds a wonderful fresh and aromatic element to your dishes. Here I have made grilled chicken breasts on my grill which I glazed with a chili lime sauce. I used the Texas Caviar as a side for this dish and arranged it such that it helped display the chicken after I sliced it. The dish was then garnished with mini pita chips and a swoosh of the chili lime glaze. Delicious!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Some variations that I often make include adding roasted garlic (just cut the top off a bulb, wrap in foil, drizzle with olive oil, and grill until the garlic is soft enough to squeeze out by hand), using vidalia onions, or adding in a bit of crumbled bacon. Good grilling!

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