Nopales are the paddles of various species of prickly pear cacti. They are sold in Mexican markets and increasingly in supermarkets, either precleaned and diced or in the form of paddles (almost always with the spines already removed). To prepare paddles, cut off any nubby parts with a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife, then rinse well and dice. It is not necessary to peel off the outer skin.
If you haven't thought about serving octopus before, here's your chance to do so. Using a smaller octopus means more tender results in less time, so forget all the chewy renditions you've had before; this elegant appetizer is sure to impress.
We learned from Margaret D'Arrigo, of Andy Boy in Salinas Valley, California, that the most extensive cactus pear production in Europe is in Sicily, right from where the D'Arrigo Bros. founders, Andrea and Stefano D’Arrigo, emigrated and where there are close to 10,000 acres planted.
The fruit of the cactus plant has a number of different names: cactus fruit or cactus pear, tuna or Indian figs. The Indians use the juice of the cactus pear to make fermented drinks such as colonche wine and brandy. Today, mixologists nationwide are creating all sorts of new ways to use prickly pear in their cocktails (or smoothies). Cactus pear martinis, mimosas, margaritas, and daiquiris are just a few of the cocktails you can prepare but only your imagination limits what you can do with this delicious fruit.
To eat a cactus pear you should use a small sharp knife and slice off each end and make a single slice from top to bottom then peel back the thick purple-red skin to reveal the luscious fruit. The flaming fuchsia color is stunning and mouthwatering and you can even eat the small seeds inside.
The Cactus Salad with Portobello Mushrooms is a unique and savory salad offered at Talavera Restaurant, an authentic Mexican destination in Miami's Coral Gables. One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, the Cactus Salad is anything but ordinary with its flavorful mix of cactus, spinach, feta cheese, and fresh mushrooms. This salad is perfect for those looking to keep things healthy and light on Cinco de Mayo. See all mushroom recipes. Click here to see Healthy Recipes for Cinco de Mayo.