I am eating grilled tacos… again. Will I ever tire of these crispy morsels? Doubtful, as the fillings change daily… but it isn’t the grilled taco I want to share, it is the side! Nopalitos ~ don’t let it’s prickly personality scare you away… just trim the spikes, cook ’em up, and you may have found your new side dish to any mexican food (or grilled taco).
The plant is the genus Opuntia from the Cactaceae family, or what is commonly known as the Prickly Pear Cactus. Nopal means cactus in Spanish and Nopales is term for “cactus stem”. The term Nopalitos refers to the pads once they are cut up and prepared for eating. There are two food crops derived from the prickly pear cactus. One is the “nopalitos” which are the cactus pads and the other crop is the prickly “pear” or fruit of the cactus.
2 cups Nopales, cleaned and cut into strips,1/2 onion, sliced thin 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 of a jalapeño, diced, olive oil, salt and lime.
Bring salted water to boil; meanwhile, sauté onion, garlic and jalapeño in olive oil, season with pinch of salt; when water starts boiling, add the nopales; cook for about 3 minutes; remove nopales from water, and place in skillet with onion mixture; cook for about 1 minute, then place in a serving dish; squeeze the juice of one lime over the top, sprinkle with salt and enjoy! V