Saturday, May 24, 2008
Since Jonna mentioned nopales, I did a little internet research, if you google nopales cactus+ cholesterol, you will find a whole range of articles. I'll let you have the fun of doing that search for yourself.
By an interesting coincidence, when I was a the supermarket stocking on vegetables for our TLC (total living change) I bought some cactus paddles. A nice thing about living in Mexico is that you can buy already scraped (to remove the spines) nopale paddles, already cleaned and chopped nopalitos, canned nopales, or even fresh frozen nopalitos. The nopalitos are nopale paddles that have been diced.
I had heard from several people that they are really tasty grilled. I already had planned to grill eggplant and zucchini,so why not?I've had them boiled (to remove the "slime") and they were okay,I had heard that they were nutritious so I was interesting in finding a way to prepare them that we would enjoy.
Somehow,after I put them away in the refrigerator, I promptly forgot about them. Jonna's comment was doubly helpful, since it nudged my memory. So today when I was preparing lunch,
I heated my griddle and simply laid the paddles on it. As they were cooking, I decided to consult my copy of Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico, he recommended scoring them first and then sprinkling with lime and salt. He advises about 15 to 20 minutes grilling time.
I figured better late than never, so I scored the paddles and seasoned them. We ate one each that way and I reserved 2 more to use in a salad.
They were much more to my liking grilled than boiled,so with all the health benefits in mind, nopales look to become a staple in my kitchen. Another benefit is that I didn't need to add any oil to the paddles to cook them, this is where their sliminess was a positive attribute.
The photo at the top of my post is courtesy of Wikipedia, the photographer is pro_bug_catcher.