Queso Con Chile y Nopalitos~Mexican Cheese and Cactus in a Warm Salsa

Queso Con Chile y Nopalitos

Here is another one of my favorite recipes Queso con chile y nopalitos from home. This original recipe was posted on the Hispanic Kitchen a few years ago and I was very excited about this wonderful package I received from my foodie friend in California. It really meant alot to me. This will be one of the cactus recipe featured at an upcoming cooking class that I wil be teaching in the nearby town of Owego, New York. Make sure you look up The Kitchen Store for all of their delicious International cooking classes by Sue Michaels. This is what I had to say when I received by package of goodies back then..

Much to my surprise, I received a big box from some of my foodie friends out in California last Saturday and was so happy when I discovered what was inside! Filled with fresh produce from one of my favorite markets, “La Superior,” out in California. Fresh cactus paddles, chickpeas, tomatillos, serrano peppers, poblanos and my favorite dried chiles. I guess they heard me complain one too many times how on many days here in central New York, those ingredients are hard to come by. I had not handled fresh cactus since I still lived at home and helped my mom cook. Nopales (cactus) is associated with foods for Lent, but now and then my mom would fix this simply delicious dish for el desayuno or brunch time. It really brought back some great memories of home.

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh cactus, sliced into strips
2 Roma tomato, chopped
2 tomatillo, chopped
1 chile de arbol, crushed
1 serrano chile, minced
3 green onions, sliced thin or 1/3 cup white onion diced
Water
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon canola oil
8 ounces panela cheese, sliced (or queso fresco)
Cilantro for garnish
Warm corn tortillas or crusty bread like Mexican bolillos

Queso Con Chile y Nopalitos

Directions:

1. Add the cactus to a small sauce pan, cover with water, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and continue cooking for 8 minutes; drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. 

2. Add the tomato, tomatillo, chile de arbol, pinch of salt and 1/4 cup of water to the blender. Blend on high until smooth, set aside. Add a little more water if needed.

3. In a medium skillet, preheat oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the onions and serrano chile, cook for 2 minutes. Add the salsa from the blender and bring to a simmer, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, taste for salt.

4. Add the cactus and cheese slices and continue to simmer for another 2 minutes. Serve with warm corn tortillas or Mexican bolillo rolls. Garnish with cilantro and avocado slices.

Nopales Before Cleaning, Cactus Paddles
Nopales Before Cleaning, Cactus Paddles
Clean Nopales
Clean Nopales
Cleaned and Sliced Fresh Nopalitos
Cleaned and Sliced Fresh Nopalitos

Queso Con Chile y Nopalitos