There's a mysterious recipe that floats around these parts of East Texas. It's been around forever and yet many have never seen it written down. I have found myself engaged in several conversations, at different occasions, regarding it uses. It's commonly eaten as a relish but then it can be a salad. Ask any East Texas man what he loves to eat over his black eyed peas or fried okra and he will enthusiastically reply, "SLANG JANE!" It's enough to make a grown man's knees buckle and his eyes roll back. Just at the thought of it, he'll start telling you of all the times his Momma used to make it when he was growing up.
I had never heard of Slang Jane. Then with the cucumbers and okra coming into season, the men-folk around here started telling me that I needed to make it. Unfortunately, NONE OF THEM could tell me how their mommas put it together.
So there I was standing in the grocery store listening to the store manager go on about his momma's Slang Jane, when I finally asked him how she made it. With a shrug in his shoulders, he says, "I don't know. I know it had lots of vinegar, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions." Thankfully, he knows how much I like cooking, so he called up his Momma on the phone. The phone they like to use up front in front of all the check out lines.
"Mom?" he says. I witness a grown man shrink to a young boy right before my eyes. "How do you make Slang Jane?"
I frantically started digging through my purse for scrap paper and a pen. Then, the store manager hands me the receiver and says, "Here. You better talk to her." I couldn't believe it. I was FINALLY getting my hands on the renowned Slang Jane recipe.
AND HERE'S ALL THERE'S TO IT
- 2 good size pickling cucumbers
- 1 large meaty tomato
- 1 small yellow onion
- apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- a pinch or two fresh ground pepper
Dice the cucumbers, tomato and onion into the same size pieces, and toss together in a medium bowl. Pour in enough cider vinegar to cover the salad. Season with sugar, salt and pepper. If the vinegar flavor is too strong for you, cut it with water, one tablespoon at a time. Salt will help soften the vinegar taste, too.
Everyone says it needs to be tart to taste right over black eye peas or tossed with fried okra. I think I could have tossed in a fresh jalapeno pepper, just to have a little bigger kick to it. You try it out and let me know what you think.