Nopales can appear scary, (as a rule, I pretty much wouldn’t eat anything with thorns on it!) but they are a versatile and delicious ingredient that can be added to stews, sautés, or made into a salad.
Once you get through the thorns it’s an easy process!
Remove the thorns of the nopale (Cactus petal) with a small paring knife, or if you are really comfortable, carefully use your chefs knife to remove many at once. I like to boil the nopales to remove some of the viscous liquid inside them. After that I sauté and chill them to add to salads, or keep the nopales in the sauté pan and add in some julienne zucchini, summer squash, snap peas, also caramelized onions, and fennel. Cook until tender, add a squeeze of lime, a dash of ground cumin, and top with chopped cilantro and cotija cheese. DELISH!
I hope you pick up Nopales next time you’re at the grocery and are feeling adventurous! 🙂
Sean Patrick Gallagher