Sometimes it takes a Texan...
I taught a cooking class this week for the Ex Patriot women about how to cook with Nopal. Many of my Midwestern friends had no idea what to do with these little gems we find in the grocery stores & Mercados in Torreon. It is served in many restaraunts throughout Mexico. Texans have had this knowledge for many years even feeding Prickly Pear to cattle when food is scarce. Many a rancher has been thankful for our vast supply of cactus. With a taste like green beans & the benefits of lowering the cholesterol they are a great addition to a meal, Mexican or otherwise!
Cactus with Eggs & Chile Sauce
1 lb. fresh Nopalitos
3 ancho chiles
2 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp veg. oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped, tough stems removed
6 eggs, beaten
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cook Nopalitos in saucepan of boiling salted water 5- 8 minutes. Drain & set aside.
Put the ancho chiles in a small saucepan of H2O covering the chilies by 2 inches & bring to a boil. Boil 5 min., then drain & let cool slightly. De seed as much as possible & remove the stems. Transfer to a blender with garlic, blend & puree adding H2O from saucepan to thin.
Heat oil in large skillet over med. heat. Add the onion & saute' until translucent, about 4-5 min. Add the nopalitos & heat through. Add eggs & scramble them into the nopalitos. Add some of the chile puree & cilantro just at the end & serve with remaining chile puree & corn tortillas or flour tortillas.
Ensalada de Nopalitos (Cactus Salad)
I N G R E D I E N T S
3 cups cooked nopales (nopalitos)
3 tablespoons chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano or Thyme
1/4 c. lime juice or vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
T O P P I N G
3 tomatoes, sliced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco or añejo or chihuahua
1/3 cup purple onion rings
3 canned chilies jalapeños pickled sliced in rings
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
I N S T R U C T I O N S
Mix the nopalitos with the next four ingredients and set aside to season for 30 minutes. Stir well and adjust seasoning.
Spread the nopalitos over the platter about 1 1/2 inches deep. Decorate with the tomatoes slices and top with cilantro, cheese, onion rings, chile strips, and slices of avocado (if used). Excellent served as either appetizer or salad. We had it with black beans & thick nacho type chips.