My niece, Ashley, is a creative cook. She comes up with the best dips and bars when we have a SOTT party. She pretty much owns those categories! The first great dip she made for us was her Arkansas Caviar. Served with tortilla chips or Fritos scoops you can fill up on it without even blinking. I like it with the scoops as you don’t get as much down your shirt. Cleaner shoveling! Ashley teases us that she hates that we modify every recipe she gives us but really we’re just working with what’s in our fridges or cupboards. We try to maintain the idea behind the recipe!
Actually I usually have most of these ingredients in my fridge or cupboard. They’re basic foods that when combined make a nice variety of flavors in each bite. I like the dip to be less watery and more chunky, so I cut back on the salsa but that’s up to the cook. I also cut back on the jalapenos but if you’re a daredevil with a conditioned tongue, go for the burn!
After you wash and drain the beans, toss them in a large bowl. I was out of black-eyed peas but no one will miss them. I could have substituted a can of white beans but decided against it. Just cuz. From there I threw in the chopped onion (I used a white onion), sliced green onions, sliced olives and the seasonings. I use a half of a small can of diced jalapenos; I’m lazy that way. I even threw in a 1/2 cup of diced sweet bell peppers I had in the fridge that needed to find a home. I didn’t have my favorite roma tomatoes on hand but I did have about a cup of little grape tomatoes to use up and cut them each in half before adding them to the bowl.
I use Village Hot Sauce, a prepared salsa from a local restaurant. I also add about a tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste out of a tube for extra tomato goodness. Then just a 1/4 cup of lime juice, stir well and we’re ready to refrigerate! We could do some sampling now but it will be so much better tomorrow when the flavors have all melded. I’m thinking dinner will need to be something Mexican, so we can have drinks and our Arkansas caviar beforehand.
The caviar will last for almost a week in the fridge, but it doesn’t usually last that long in our house. I think it makes a meal in itself with the beans for protein when I’m feeling like a lazy snack. To dress the caviar up a bit further you could add diced avocado to smaller bowls as you serve them. You wouldn’t want to add them to the whole bowl; it wouldn’t last as long.
You could also add more tomato or even shredded cheese for new touches. I’ve often thought some cooked shrimp would make a nice addition if you wanted to make a different meal of it. I have some in the freezer, I may do that! Once they’re added you’d want to finish the dip within a few days though.
Ashley's Arkansas Caviar
A great mix of beans and vegetables to make a zesty dip.
- 1 can hominy; yellow
- 2 cans corn
- 1 can black-eyed peas
- 1 can black beans
- 2 cups picante sauce or salsa
- 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro; or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 cup purple onions; finely chopped
- 4-5 scallions or green onions; thinly sliced
- 1-2 tomatoes; finely chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers; finely chopped (I use 1/2 small can)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- dash cayenne or more to taste
- 1 can black olives; sliced
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- salt; to taste
Drain and rinse hominy, corn and beans. Put in large bowl.
Chop rest of ingredients, add spices, and mix.
Store in covered container and refrigerate overnight. Best made at least one day in advance. Keeps about one week in fridge.
Serve with tortilla chips