Cactus Paddles - Today I also have the recipes for Nopales Salad and Nopales with Eggs. Nopales with eggs!!?? What?? Am I out of my mind?? Well, that is exactly what I told my husband as a newlywed almost 30 years ago.
VERY IMPORTANT TIP: Use kitchen tongs to hold the nopales or, better yet, wear gloves to protect your hands from the thorns. Once you are familiar working with cactus paddles then you can try to clean them without gloves.
Place the cactus paddle on your cutting board and, using a sharp knife, trim off the edge. Scrape the spines, thorns or eyes, running your knife from back to front until completely clean. Turn the cactus paddles and do the same on the other side.
Repeat the same steps with the rest of the cactus paddles. Finally, rinse the cactus paddles and take them back to your clean cutting board.
Place a medium size pot with 4 quarts of water to boil.
Cut the cactus paddles into small strips.
Once the water is boiling add the cactus, onion, garlic, 1/2 tsp. of salt and the tomatillo husk. Boil uncovered for about 8-10 minutes or until tender. The cactus will exude a sticky substance and most times will foam, so, pay special attention to this step to avoid the foam to spill over.
Once cooked, drain and rinse the cactus. Let them drain completely or pat them dry with paper towels. Now, your nopales are ready to be prepared into salads, scrambled eggs, as an addition to your Mexican stews, etc.
Place the nopales in a large bowl; add the chopped tomato, onion, serrano peppers and cilantro. Mix the ingredients. In a separate bowl mix lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add this to the nopales mixture and stir. Top the salad with crumbled fresh cheese and avocado slices. (Radishes go well with this salad also). Eat with corn tortillas or tostadas.
NOPALES WITH EGGS FOR BREAKFAST
Add the oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped green onions and stir-fry for a minute. Add the nopales and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the eggs and cook until tender, stirring as needed. Add salt to taste.
Nopales also taste really good grilled and topped with melted cheese. Just make 3-4 small cuts to each nopal after you cleaned the spines; brush them with oil and grill them for about 3 minutes on each side.