Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cactus salad - Ensalada de Nopalitos

This is truly one of the easiest recipes when using the Nopal Cactus from the bottle. However, if not highly practiced the preparation of raw Nopal paddles into edible strips can be a prickly proposition. The process entails using great care, a sharp knife and a pair of stout gloves to remove all spines (espinas), cutting and par-boiling the ribbons. Once cooled and you've undertaken the pickling process proceed directly to the recipe below! Or do as my grandmother Tomasa did simply resort to prepared cactus from the bottle available at any Mexican market.

Cactus Salad

One cup of Nopal Cactus or more
2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
Radish, julienne
Fresh cilantro

Simple Vinaigrette

Olive oil or vegetable oil if you prefer

Red wine vinegar
Dried oregano
Salt & pepper al gusto

My little twist on the traditional is to add Julienned Jicama for additional crunch. I finish the salad with fresh lime juice for a light bright flavor! This is a perfect "All Accordin" recipe in that you just add more of any ingredient that pleases you or leave out what doesn't. Yet another twist I find expressly thrilling is the use of Prickly Pear Fruit Jelly in making the vinaigrette - infusing yet more Cactus flavor, cactus to cactus if you like. Also, it's easy to add crisp Romaine Lettuce and crumbly Queso Ranchero (Ranch Cheese) to modernize this salad so well loved in the hot, dry north of Mexico.


maria said...

oh how i love this salad - my mother makes a killer ensalada...i love nopales with eggs too.

Mick Huerta said...

My abuela Tomasa also made scrambbled eggs with nopales. They remain a family favorite too. Thanks for sharing your impressions, Maria. Vaya bonito!