It is Prickly Pear season here in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. They are blooming and putting out new little paddles (leaves). Did you know you could eat the paddles?? The are called nopalitos, they are boiled and eaten in salads or as a cooked vegetable. You can buy them at the local grocery stores. Here is a recipe for you to try, they tell me it can be found in one of the Betty Crocker recipe books:
Cactus Salad (Ensalada De Nopalitos)
24 ounces sliced or diced prickly pear cactus
2 med tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 sm onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon drived oregano leaves
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
a dash of pepper
Place cactus, tomatoes, onion and cilantro in a glass or plastic bowl. Shake remaining ingredients in tightly covered jar. Pour over vegetables; toss. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve on lettuce leaves if desired.
Personally I am confused by the recipe, not sure if you need to boil this before you chop, or just skin the little rascals. Was told to use as vegetable you must boil first for 15 minutes, drain and then boil again for 15 minutes (using fresh water each time).