Nopalitos con Rajas en Salsa Verde was a typical dish prepared during Lent at our house. Another favorite way to enjoy nopalitos is for breakfast, scrambled with eggs, chorizo, onions and chile serrano! This past year, a couple of my foodie friends were nice enought to ship me fresh cactus paddles all the way from California! I was excited beyond words. It had been so long since I had enjoyed fresh nopalitos of any kind. When I get a craving for them, thank goodness the nopalitos in a jar are available in a variety of stores where I live. One of our local markets has been adding new products to their produce department. I walk in the other day, and what do i find??? Fresh cactus! Yay! I was like a kid in a candy store and the people around me were looking at me like I was crazy, lol! This was probably just my fourth time cleaning the cactus paddles and it wasn’t so bad, ha ha….I love a good cooking challenge!
4 cups cleaned nopales(cactus) sliced into strips
1 pound tomatillos
1 small white onion, cut in half
5 serrano peppers
1 clove garlic
2 poblanos, roasted, peeled and sliced into rajas(strips)
2 Anaheim peppers, roasted, peeled and sliced into rajas(strips)
Tip~ When I clean the paddles, I hold the end tightly with a kitchen towel, lay the paddle on flat surface and slice or shave away from me into the sink to catch the needles.
You will also need
Cilantro for garnish
Queso panela or queso fresco, sliced or crumbled
Tortillas, Corn or flour
*oil if you decide to fry the tortillas
1. Using a small sharp knife, carefully shave or remove the needles from the cactus paddles. Slice into strips and rinse well under cold water. Combine the nopales with 1 teaspoon of salt in a sauce pan. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and again rinse well under cold water.
2. In another sauce pan, add the tomatillos, half of the onion and all of the serrano peppers. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain all the water and transfer to the blender. Add garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of salt or to taste. Blend on high until smooth, set aside.
3. Preheat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Slice the remaining onion into thin strips. Add to skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Add the rajas and nopales and cook for another few minutes. Add half of the salsa from blender to the skillet. Cook at a low simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with extra salsa, queso panela slices, avocado and warm tortillas. Yields 4 servings.
Prepare some homemade corn tortillas, add sliced queso panela to make a quesadilla or taco, add noplalitos! The tacos above were fried with just the cheese inside first. The recipe for homemade tortillas is on the blog.