Just when you thought….

that I couldn’t come up with anything more unusual than my submission to the chocolate contest, BAM, here I come to try to inspire you to make Cactus Taco Filling. Why? Well it is a fun vegetarian main or side dish alternative and it is a dish that will be well enjoyed!


While I have attempted to cross post from my original piece done for the SV Mom’s Blog, technical difficulties have prevailed on my end and I am now going to just do my best to fill your foodie appetite for a new recipe. That said, for the full story behind this recipe please do read on at Silicon Valley Mom’s Blog: Mi Pueblo San Rafael’s Newest Latin Supermarket

Cactus Taco Filling (Nopales en Ensalada)

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs paddle cactus leaves (nopales), spines removed cut the size of French Green Beans
4 TBS white vinegar
½ tsp oregano, dried but not ground
¼ cup cilantro plus more for garnish, fresh chopped
1 large potato, peeled then cubed
salt and pepper, to taste
1 yellow onion, sliced length-wise
3 tomatoes, diced
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 package corn tortillas, cooked
sour cream (optional)
Panela or cotija cheese (optional)

NOTES:
Mexican and other Latino markets, like Mi Pueblo, often sell prepared cactus leaves, which is MUCH easier than having to wear gloves and use a paring knife to remove spines. If you would like to see a good video on how to do this I recommend Zarela Martinez’s son, Food Network star, Aaron Sanchez clip that shows you how to work with Nopales & Chayotes.

Directions

Cut the fresh cactus leaves into strips. In a saucepan, boil cactus with 1/2 cup water and a large pinch of salt, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and rinse well in cold water to remove the slippery film which develops from boiling. In a bowl, combine cactus with white wine vinegar, oregano and cilantro. Let sit for 30 minutes.

I typically cook my tortillas on top of an oven burner, at low heat, for 15-25 seconds on each side. This does tend to mess up an electric burner — it is a bit less of a mess on a gas burner. You can also pan fry them by spraying a non-stick spray in a pan and turning once on each side or there is always the popular oil pan fry method. To keep cooked tortillas warm, place in a cloth or paper towel on a plate while preparing the remainder of tortillas. Set aside. Note: Plastic wrap or aluminum foil used to keep the tortillas warm often creates a damp tortilla unless there is an ample amount of paper/cloth involved to absorb the moisture.

Heat vegetable oil in a saute pan and add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent from sticking to bottom of pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in the onion and cook 5-7 minutes until translucent. Lower to medium heat and add in the tomatoes for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the cactus for 5 minutes to warm and absorb the flavors. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cheese and additional cilantro.

Serves 4-6

This is an original recipe post to Silicon Valley Moms Blog.

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