Nopales – Today we will eat a cactus!

Living in foreign countries sure broadens your horizon. For me, being a passionate cook, one of the most interesting adventures in the beginning is a trip to the supermarket (or better: farmers’ market, but there is none in Playa del Carmen).

One of my favourite vegetables are nopales, segments of the prickly pear. They have the form of bunny ears and are roughly the size of a man’s hand. You can buy them at the supermarkets where they are already peeled, their spines removed. When you cut them into pieces, they release a clear slime – similar to okras. If you don’t like that, the best thing is to throw them into boiling water and strain them. If you, like me, somehow do like the slime, then you can just cook them in a pan with a little oil and salt.

Nopales have a very subtle taste, slightly sour and they have a nice and chewy texture. My favourite dish with Nopales is a salad made of lentils, tomatillos, cucumber, avocado, cilantro and chili with a dressing out of lime juice, garlic, olive oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper and some curd cheese (quark). The salad tastes best when you let it stand quite a while, so either prepare it in the morning for dinner or you can even prepare it a day ahead.


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