Marinated Cactus Salad!
Admit it. You read the title of this post and thought, “Well, it’s finally happened. She’s gone completely nuts.”
That’s okay. I was skeptical at first but then I quickly became something of a Cactus Salad addict.
This is so good (and easy) that we’re going to need to form a support group.
I know you’re still thinking CACTUS???
Step #1 – go out into the yard with a machete…
No, not this cactus…
I suppose there are people much smarter than me who know how to dispatch, cook, and brine their own cactus but since this comes in a can all ready to go, let’s just go with it.
Cactus in light brine is little strips of cactus (all the work happily done for you) marinated and seasoned with peppers and onions.
The cactus strips are very similar in texture to a green bean.
Think of this as zesty bean salad for the adventurous!
Here’s what you need:
Cactus, Red Onion, Tomato, Lime, Avocado, Queso Fresco, Olive Oil, and Pepper.
If your grocery store has a good Latin section, you can probably find cactus there. I had no problem finding it at Cub & Rainbow (along with a fabulous selection of devotional candles) when I was in Minneapolis this summer. Back in Florida, I found it at the Latin Supermarket fairly close to our house.
Non-Spanish speaking redhead with freckles buying cactus gets some looks at the checkout line. And yes, I gave the checkout lady the recipe.
When you open the can (or jar, depending on the variety of cactus) you will see the cactus, peppers, and onions all floating in the brine. Since this is quite salty, drain and rinse the cactus in a strainer under cool water.
Place the drained cactus in a large bowl. Go ahead and try a strip so you can see that I’m not crazy. It’s good!
The peppers are too hot for me so I discarded them. If you are tougher than I am, you can include them in the salad but I would suggest trying them on the side first.
Finely chop 1/4 of a red onion and add it to the bowl.
Dice up 1 tomato and add it as well. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime.
and stir to combine.
If you are making this in advance, stop here and refrigerate the salad until you are ready to eat.
Just before serving, dice one ripe avocado and add it to the salad. The avocado adds a nice creamy texture to the cactus strips.
Crumble up about 1/3 cup of Queso Fresco or Mexican crumbling cheese. It has a very mild flavor but you could also substitute Feta cheese.
Stir to combine, serve it up, and prepare to be amazed!
This recipe came from my friend Nancy in Minneapolis who was kind enough to host me for 2 weeks during the opera this summer. Not only did she agree to have a crazy flutist living at her house, but she also introduced me to the joys of cactus salad. Most importantly, she let me hang out with this awesome little guy.
Meet Hugo! Every morning, that is the face I would see at the top of the stairs waiting for me to get up and go for a walk.
So is cactus salad! Give it a try!
Here’s the recipe: Adapted from Nancy Jamieson (who got it from a friend who’s name I have forgotten)
I’m making it again this week to go with Carnitas!