Bryant Terry
Author, Educator and Food Justice Advocate Chef-in-Residence, Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco
Oakland, California
“Teaching young people cooking can change their habits, attitudes and politics in regard to food.”

Texas Caviar on Grilled Rustic Bread

One of the many creative ways Southerners use black-eyed peas is by combining them with tomato, bell pepper and onion and tossing it all with a tangy vinaigrette to create Texas caviar. Bryant Terry spoons his onto thick slices of rustic bread for a party-perfect appetizer.

Serves 4 – 6


  • 2 whole sun-dried tomatoes or a scant 1/4 cup of slices
  • 2/3 cup dried black-eyed peas, sorted and soaked in water overnight
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded heirloom tomatoes, diced in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup packed minced cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large loaf rustic bread, cut into about 12 1/2- to 3/4-inch slices


Put the sun-dried tomatoes in a small heatproof bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Let soak for 5 minutes. Drain the black-eyed peas and rinse them well. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium, skim off any foam, and partially cover. Cook until beans are soft but still firm, 40 to 50 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water for 1 minute, then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, warm the oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is crispy and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Strain the garlic oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and reserve the garlic.

Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, finely chop, and put in a blender. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, then process. With the blender running, pour in 1/4 cup of the garlic oil in a slow stream and process until creamy.

Transfer the blended mixture to a large bowl. Add the black-eyed peas, tomato, green and yellow bell peppers, onion, jalapeño and half of the cilantro. Stir gently until well combined, then cover and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Season the black-eyed pea mixture with black pepper and, if desired, more salt.

Lightly brush each slice of bread with garlic oil, saving any leftover for drizzling. Put the bread on a large baking sheet and bake, without turning, until lightly browned and toasted on top, 6 to 10 minutes. Top each slice with a heaping 2 tablespoons of the black-eyed pea mixture. Garnish with a few slices of crispy garlic and a scattering of the remaining cilantro. Drizzle with garlic oil.