Cactus Salad

To clean prickly pear cactus paddles, which bristle with thorns, grip them by their base and shave off the spines with a knife held flush against the paddles. (Protect your hands with paper towels or rubber gloves.)

Cactus Salad
Cactus paddles have a flavor that is a cross between a bell pepper, asparagus, and green beans, with a slightly tangy taste.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 5 medium cactus paddles (about 1 1⁄2 lbs.), trimmed, cleaned, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 medium tomato, cored, and sliced
  • 23 cup crumbled queso
  • 14 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cactus paddles, reduce heat to medium, and boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain paddles and rinse; transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add olive oil, lime juice, onions, garlic, jalapeño, and salt to taste; stir well. Transfer salad to a platter and top with tomatoes, crumbled queso, and fresh cilantro. Refrigerate for 1 hour.