Perhaps it's just a Southern tradition, maybe it's an American one - heck, maybe it comes from the back corners of Poland.
All I know is that here in Texas, every year, we eat our Black Eyed Peas for good luck. And, it doesn't matter if you don't like Black Eyed Peas - you gotta do it. Force one or two down your gullet with a glass of water if you must. Just eat those good luck charms, dangnabit.
A few years ago I started foregoing the standard fare of a pot of the peas cooked with salt pork or bits of ham or bacon, served together with cornbread, for something new. These days, it's become so popular that I give away jars of this stuff as gifts - and so, Dear Reader, as my Happy 2008 to You, here is my recipe for Texas Caviar:
2 cans black-eyed peas, drained
1 sweet onion, chopped fine
1 clove fresh garlic, chopped fine
1 t black pepper
salt to taste
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped fine (leaves not stems)
1 serano chili, chopped tiny (forget the seeds if you're not into heat)
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped to bits a little larger than the peas (I choose these tomatoes because I think they are less watery)
juice of one fresh lemon (lime's okay too)
1 cup of Italian dressing if you're lazy or out of time; I like Balsamic vinegar too much for this tho, and I'll play around with olive oil and BV and make my own combo to pour over this stuff.
Mix. Refrigerate overnight. You can serve this over grilled chicken breasts, or as a dip. I usually choose dip - and those Fritos Scoops seem to go faster than other options with this stuff.
One more thing: some folk add corn, or bell peppers, or hominy, or roasted red peppers, bits of cheese, or black beans, here. I don't - but it's a free country. Just please don't call this stuff "pea salad" - LOL!!!
Happy New Year!!!!