Yooper Caviar

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My grandfather was a unique individual. I think those who knew him would agree that the most appropriate description for him would be ‘curmudgeon.’  A loveable curmudgeon but curmudgeon nonetheless. You know that stereotypical old man that you see standing on his porch shaking his fist and yelling ‘Get off my lawn!” That. It’s also almost universally agreed that my brother is much like our grandfather. Draw whatever conclusions you may. Ahem.

The reason I bring my brother up is not to indirectly call him names, that’s just a fantastic bonus. No, the reason I bring him up is because his wife Laurie made him this salad which was originally named Texas Caviar. He took a taste and immediately renamed it Yooper Caviar. You may recall, we discussed the term Yooper in this post but here’s a reminder for you. And he’s right, this is definitely a dish that people in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan would jokingly call ‘caviar’ (or maybe not-so-jokingly 😉 ).  It’s so easy and delicious!

Start with a can of black-eyed peas, a can of pinto beans, a can of corn and small jar of pimentos.  Drain each can but *do not rinse*. The recipe is very insistent on this point.

Chop up green onions & celery, the recipe says to chop as much as you like. I ended up using 3 celery ribs and 2 full green onions.

Add all everything into a large bowl. Look how pretty that is! Admire the prettiness and then set aside because you have work to do grasshopper.

Add 1 cup oil (I used olive oil this time) and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar to a saucepan.

Add 1/2 cup white sugar

And 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat over medium-heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and immediately pour over the ingredients. This freaked me out a bit because we’re dealing with hot oil but alas, no injuries. What I’m saying here is please be careful.

The ingredients will be swimming in the beautiful oil mixture. Take the entire bowl and put it in the fridge for at least overnight but 24 hours is better.

The next day, drain out the oil and serve with tortilla chips (or other scooping vessels of choice).

I at this sans-chips. Just me, the caviar and a spoon. It was amazing.

Yooper (Texas) Caviar

1 can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas

1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans

1 can (15 oz.) yellow corn

1 small jar pimentos

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 green onions, chopped


1 cup oil (canola or olive)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Drain the black-eyed peas, pinto beans, corn & pimentos. Do not rinse.  Place in large bowl with celery & onions.
  2. Place oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar & salt into a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils.  Immediately remove from heat and pour over ingredients. Place in the refrigerator overnight/24 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, drain oil mixture and serve with tortilla chips.


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