Some hints on useing Nopales (prickly pear paddles) in the kitchen
This is a great green veg.
You dont even have to plant it,
just throw a paddle on the ground and it grows on less than 200mm annual rainfall!
Nopales -Opuntia spp.
they have to be handled with a bit of care
and prepare carefully.
If you do eat some glochids (prickly hairs) they're just a bit irritating.
Chose small, new growing 'paddles' that are about 5-8mm thick and about 15-20 cm long
cut off the bumps where the glochids are with a knife.
wash them if you dont trust that you've got all the prickles off.
The one on the left is not yet preped and the ones on the right are ready to cut and cook.
Here are two ways to cook them.
Cut the nopales into cubes.
Fry onion and garlic for about a minute in a bit of oil,
in this example I fried a dried Guajillo chile breifly (careful not to burn it) and removed before cooking onion.
Then add cubed nopales to pan.
Grind cooled chile and add to pan with salt to taste.
cook for about 10-12 min in own juices til mucilage comes out and it's ready
some people cook in a few changes of water to get rid of the slippery texture,
but i find it loses a bit of flavour, besides it's not as slippery as Okra anyway.
Now here's how to do it on a hotplate or BBQ plate.
Cut nopales so they're joined at the base.
Like a hand with lots of fingers.
Dip into beer (traditionally Tepache) and quickly throw onto hotplate
Cook 4-5min then turn and cook the other side til done.
they can then be cut through as strips and used in tacos or chopped and used in salads or as a side dish.
These were eaten with various combos of the following ingredients:-
shredded beef, fresh, warm maize tortillas,
Sour cream, cheese, avocado, Epazote and purslane lvs and salsa verde.
Taste and texture?
well, ...not too dissimmilar to partially cooked green capsicum, crisp but slippery.
Flavour ... hmmm again, green capsicum comes closest , I think.
it has a nice sort of acidic tang that balances well with the onions , garlic, chile and salt.
It feels good to eat.
...well, I keep cooking and eating it .