skip to Main Content
Italian Style Cowboy Caviar.

Celebrate the Fourth of July with some international influence. It’s summertime and you are stumped with trying to take something new and different to your family or friend’s picnic. Traditional Cowboy Caviar is a super easy 15-minute dish that is hearty and healthy. My sister-in-law Celeste made for a picnic last Sunday. It was spectacular.

But that got me thinking: What can I do to this to make it more of a meal and change it up with an Italian spin?

Italian Cowboy Caviar is a dish without mayonnaise or cheese so little worry if it is on the picnic table for a bit. Refrigerate until ready to use and then return to the fridge…if anything is left over.

This unpretentious dish can function as a base for a light summer meal if you add grilled shrimp or chicken and freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or perchance a little nuttier option of Manchego. Let’s make it!

What you need:

  • Three ears of corn. Seasoned, grilled, and cut off the cob. You can substitute frozen corn.
  • Peppers, I use three small red, yellow, and orange baby bells.
  • One can of white beans drained and rinsed. You can use Chickpeas.
  • 2 plum tomatoes diced.
  • 3 ounces of sliced prosciutto torn into pieces.
  • Kalamata Olives- about ½ cup sliced or diced.
  • ¼ of a 16-ounce jar of sliced Italian hot pepper rings.
  • Medium sized red onion diced.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 4 scallions- sliced.
  • ¾ cup measured of uncooked Ditalini (or your choice); cook it al dente in salted water.
  • Pine Nuts to sprinkle on top.
  • Crushed red pepper sprinkled to taste.
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.
  • Good sized handful of torn basil leaves.
  • Fresh oregano leaves- torn.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Olive Oil- if you’re feeling frisky, use truffle oil, it adds a whole new dimension.

What to do:

Simple. Mix it slowly and carefully; and to all my Italian peeps out there, wash your hands thoroughly and then mix it with love using your hands.

Then shake on the vinegar and oil and toss gently again. Season to taste and top with the torn basil and oregano. For extra yumminess, add those pine nuts!

Serve with a light wine that’s slightly dry or perhaps a little fruity.

Finger Lakes wines are perfect. If you can find any of the white wines, Riesling, Albarino, or Avail from Anyela’s Vineyards, do not pass them up.  They are spectacular. I am partial to the 2017 Senza myself. It’s a take on Prosecco that would make any Italian giddy.

Happy 4th of July.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. What a wonderful summer salad! We loved it!

    We had vegetarians over, so left out the prosciutto. Used truffle salt to season, and left out the crushed red pepper. It was still a little on the spicy side, so I’ll cut back on the pepper rings next time – and there will certainly be a next time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.