Thursday, September 27, 2012

When in Rancho...Eat Nopales!

During my recent stay in San Francisco, I ended the trip by flying out to LA and visiting friends, Jess, Adrian and their little boy Declan.  They live in a town called Rancho Cucamonga, which is a fabulous name and an even prettier town that overlooks the gorgeous San Gabriel Mountains (see above pic).  

I was welcomed by my friends with a fabulous homemade dinner hosted by Jess' mom, Martha who made a traditional Mexican meal.  It was oh so delicious and made with love that emanated from the food.  My personal favorite that was just so different from anything I've ever had was the Nopales or cactus salad, inspired by Jess' grandfather's recipe.  The salad was fresh and earthy and included not only the smooth cactus but also tomatoes, red onions and a really light dressing.  I asked for the rough recipe and decided to recreate it at home.  I hope you give it a try.

Nopales Salad a La Martin Family

Ingredients (serves 2)
3 fresh cacti, de-prickled (you can get these in any specialty Latin market)
2 medium sized tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

1/4 cup of red onion, chopped fine
1/2 avocado, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

Olive oil and white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the cactus in a saucepan and cover in water.  Let boil and then lower heat to let it simmer for about 1 hour or until the cactus get soft.  Let cool for about 15 minutes and then slice the cactus into 1/2 inch pieces.  Combine cactus with the rest of the above ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon.  Season with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to your liking.  Enjoy with your favorite Mexican entree like enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas or what have you.

A special thanks to Jess' mom Martha for making this fabulous dish! I hope you all enjoy it.

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