I was more than happy to guest post for Jenny, I have been following her blog for some time now and admire her love for good food. I don’t think that’s something you just come up with but something learned from a very early age. She has some fantastic recipes on Savour The Senses with one of my favorites being her Pear and Goat Cheese Pizza! My inspiration for today’s post came from a vacation I had last weekend in the beautiful city of Sedona, Arizona. I had heard from a few friends that Sedona was lacking in good places to eat, and sadly I would have to agree. I saw many places advertising cactus fries made from the paddles of the prickly pear cactus. I had to try these but when they arrived at my table all I had was a pile of limp, half breaded pieces of the leaf. I then made up my mind to try to emulate these when I got back home, It couldn’t be that hard could it? It wasn’t in fact the hardest part was removing the spikes from the leaves which did result in a few finger pricks. The end result made it worth while though. Tall, crunchy and proud looking cactus fries which I dipped in a spicy ancho chili dip. Since the cactus leaves or “Nopalito” are so inexpensive to buy I threw in some extra and made a cactus salad from Lisa Fain’s, Homesick Texan cook book. The salad turned out fresh tasting and bursting with flavor, coupled with the awesome fiber content made this a really healthy salad. I will definitely be making these again!
- For the Cactus Fries:
- 3-4 cactus leaves or "paddles"
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for frying
- For the Ancho Chili Dip:
- 2 tsp of mayonnaise
- ¼ tsp of ancho chili powder
- dash of paprika
- dash of hot sauce (to suit your taste)
- For the Cactus Salad (From The Homesick Texan):
- 1 pound of cactus leaves cleaned as above
- 1 plum tomato chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ¼ medium red onion sliced
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ cup Cotija cheese crumbled
- Salt and pepper
- For the cactus fries, take the thorns out of the cactus leaves and rinse underwater.
- Cut into french fries shapes and blanch in a pot of boiling water (about 4 minutes). Drain and cool.
- Fill a pan with the oil about 2 inches deep and bring to 350F. Dredge each "french fry" in the flour and then the egg and finally the panko.
- Drop gently into the hot oil and fry for about 5 minutes or until nice and golden.
- Drain on a paper towel and season with sea salt and black pepper.
- For the ancho chili dip, combine the mayo, ancho chili powder, paprika and hot sauce. Mix well and chill.
- For the salad, prepare the leaves as for the fries but cut into small 1 inch squares. Blanch for 4 minutes, rinse and cool.
- Prepare all the other ingredients and mix together in a bowl. Add the chopped squares of cactus to the bowl when cool and marinade in the fridge for about an hour. Sprinkle with some more cheese just before serving.
Thanks Jenny for giving me a spot on your awesome blog!
Thanks so much Gerry! I have never tried cactus but this sounds delicious! If you or somebody you know would like to be a part of Featured Foodie Friday please e-mail me at savourthesenses (at) gmail (dot) com and we can get you scheduled!
1 Year Ago: Hot Spinach & Red Pepper Dip