I think that cactus pads ought to be considered much as one would an herb. Add a little bit to almost anything you cook... but generally it's not the thing you eat as a single serving entirely alone.
Here's a recipe I made up to vary my love for cous-cous....
I cooked the cous-cous in the regular way... boil some water and add some olive oil, then the grain. Let it simmer for ten minutes then pull form heat, and leave covered for five minutes or so, and it'll be ready to add to the rest of the mix.
I add almost anything I like as the main mix to go with the cous-cous. Usually I like some cooked peas and corn.... today I decided to add kidney beans and dicded tomatoes along with one cactus pad, scrubbed under running water, then diced.
I added the cactus to the red beans and corn and tomato-spice mix when it was almost done. Our cactus does not really NEED to be cooked, but when everything else is hot, the cactus should be too.
Then when the cous-cous has been placed into a bowl, the cactus/tomato mix is spooned over the top.
"Great Fresh Yummie Texas Customer on May 16, 2016 Really high quality, delivered as promised, Almost a citrus like flavor."
This customer has been sent the secret code to get a five dollar discount on her next box of edible cactus.
And to tell the truth... I get all happy and prideful when someone from Texas compliments us on our cactus. We enjoy showing people how they can eat cactus, and how many great cactus recipes there are, and how healthy cactus is.
Awesome nopales May 09, 2016 These are the highest quality. Delicious.
If you'd like to take advantage of this opportunity go ahead and post a review from the link above, and we'll send you a discount code to use when you order your next box of cactus. The code should be sent within a few days of notification.
Here's a Spanish-language video showing the making of Nopales Rellanos. Since cooking is international, any cook in the world should be able to follow-along, and listen to the beauty of the Spanish language.
Get your pen and paper to write down the ingredients which are shown at the beginning. This is an extremely tasty way to eat cactus.
"Nopales are the edible, fleshy pads of the prickly pear cactus. They're harvested shortly after rains when they're plump, juicy and full of nutrients..... Follow this recipe and you'll be enjoying crispy, tempura-style nopales tacos in no time."
In this recipe one cooks the olive-oiled and salted cactus over a grill until the color changes to a deeper green and some evidence of charring happens. The cactus is removed from the grill and cooled overnight, then it is chopped the next day and added in a bowl with tomatoes, onions, chilies, cilantro and cheese. Drench with more olive oil and some vinegar, some more salt and some black pepper. Toss well. Serve on plates lined with lettuce leaves, and garnish with avocado slices sprinkled with cracked pepper garnish.
Oh, let me tell ya, this is one fine salad!
On an accompanying note... I recommend adding sweet corn sliced off the cob and some canned black beans.
This is why we call these 'Artisan-Grown' edible nopal cactus pads. Just before we start the larger commercial harvests we cut the grasses growing around the plants over the winter. The grasses from the rows are cut and laid in among the cactus plants in order to shade the soil. The grasses from the pathways are also cut and placed gently around the cactus. This has several benefits" 1. Removal of the grasses will open the plants to the warming affects of the sun. This will stimulate the summer growth and formation of new cladodes (cactus pads, edible cactus leaves, nopales). 2. The cut grasses will help shade the soil, reducing temperature spikes and helping keep the cactus roots cool and conserving moisture. If the roots don't cook, the plant can take more sunshine and heat and grow faster. 3. As the year goes on the leaves and the straw from the grass stems will slowly decompose into the soil, adding to the biosphere of the soil zone.
Cutting by hand is more challenging. A mechanical string trimmer is faster, but the grasses are chopped up and fly everywhere, including damaging the growing cactus.
If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. And this cactus is worth growing for our customers. And I will grow it right, and leave this soil richer and deeper than when I got here.
Esta es la razón por la que los llamamos "Artisan-Grown'. Justo antes de empezar las grandes cosechas comerciales cortamos las hierbas que crecen alrededor de las plantas durante el invierno. Los pastos de las filas se cortan y se sentó entre los cactos en orden a la sombra de la tierra. Las hierbas de los caminos se cortan y coloca suavemente alrededor de los cactus. Esto tiene varias ventajas" 1. Extracción de las gramíneas se abrirá las plantas afecta al calentamiento del sol. Esto estimulará el crecimiento de verano y formación de nuevos cladodios (pastillas de cactus comestibles, hojas de cactus, nopales). 2. Cortar la hierba ayudará a la sombra del suelo, reduciendo los picos de temperatura y ayudando a mantener las raíces de cactus fresco. Si las raíces no cocine, la planta puede tomar más sol y calor y crecer más rápido. 3. Como el año pasa sobre las hojas y la paja de los tallos de pasto se descomponen lentamente en el suelo, agregando a la biosfera, de la zona de la tierra. Cortar a mano es más desafiante. Un recortador de cadena mecánico es más rápido, pero las gramíneas están picados y volar por doquier, incluso dañar el cultivo de nopal Si vale la pena hacer, vale la pena hacer lo correcto. Y esto vale de nopal creciente para nuestros clientes. Y voy a crecer bien, y dejar esta tierra más rico y más profundo que cuando llegué aquí.