Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cactus? For breakfast?

Cactus, really? You can eat cactus? Yes, yes you can eat cactus.

Nopales, as they are known in the Mexican kitchen, are young, hand sized, pads from the prickly pear variety of cactus.

Ever resourceful, Mexican cooks long ago discovered that these pads were edible, and began to use them in all sorts of preparations. For the uninitiated, you must remove the spines from the pad before cooking. Obvious, right? A mouthful of cactus spines is not my idea of a culinary adventure. Once the spines are removed, nopales can be prepared in a variety of different ways, sauteed, grilled, even pickled. Yummers!

Here at Big Star, we dip the paddles in beer, and grill them on our wood grill, leaving them slightly charred and smoky. After that treatment, they are diced up and sauteed with onions, garlic, and serrano peppers. After tossing them in some smoky, housemade, chipotle salsa, they go into a freshly made corn tortilla for your enjoyment.

Next week, we will be experimenting with a Mexican classic- nopales y huevos, cactus and eggs. Breakfast will never be the same!


  1. I wanna BYOegg for that dish! What day? WHAT DAY?

    (and how does one remove the spines?)

  2. Ellen, for you, you can BYOE. You remove the spines with the backside of a paring knife. Scrape away!