Friday, May 18, 2012

Nopales, ya'll


This was going to happen eventually. One of my absolute favorite things about living in the Bay Area is all the wonderful produce, and something I have been eyeing for a while is nopales (cactus). I have enjoyed it in a few burritos in Berkeley, and my tastebuds fancied it so. When I came across these tacos, I immediately knew the fate of the nopale cactus that was soon to make it's way into my belly (by way of some panko breadcrumbs, the oven, and avocado cream).  


Now I'm sure many of you are reading this saying, "but what does cactus taste like, and why would I want to put it on a taco?" Good question. I'm not 100% sure how to describe it, but it is a little bit sour, it has a nice snap to it when you bite it, and has notes of green bean and zucchini and okra? And why wouldn't you want to put it on a taco? Tacos are delicious! These tacos, specifically, are particularly delicious. I love these La Tortilla Factory homestyle corn tortillas, then the cactus is super crunchy, and then it snaps, and then it is smooth on the inside, plus the cooling avocado cream and the crunchy cabbage. These are a huge winner, and I am craving them hardcore while typing this up. Unfortunately, the leftovers are in my fridge, and I am not currently home. Fortunately, the leftovers are waiting for me at home :-).



I used one cactus paddle in this recipe, and have one more in the fridge that I am excited to play with. Perhaps it will adorn some sort of salad, or make it's way into a breakfast taquito, or perhaps I will stuff it?! Either way, i'm pumped.

Nopales Tacos
Adapted from Munchin With Munchkin
Materials:
  • 1 nopale cactus paddle
  • 6 tablespoons cashew cream
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons cashew cream
  • 2 tablespoons nayonaise
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • Red cabbage, sliced
  • Corn tortillas
Methods:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Clean the thorns off of the cactus and slice into roughly 1/2 inch by 4 inch strips.
  3. Set up a breading station in 3 shallow bowls:
    1. Cashew cream
    2. Flour, with a few shakes of salt and pepper
    3. Panko bread crumbs with cumin and cayenne
  4. Bring the cactus through the breading station in the following order: cashew cream, flour, cashew cream, and finally bread crumbs.
  5. Once breaded, transfer to oiled baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. 
  6. While the nopales are baking, prepare the avocado cream by placing the avocado, cashew cream, nayonaise, lime juice, and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth and then add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Assemble the tacos with the cactus, cabbage, and drizzle with the avocado cream (I threw on some tomatoes as an after thought too).
  8. Enjoy!

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