Cactus paddles: You’ve seen them at the grocery store and thought, “Hey, cactus paddles.” And that’s about it, right? Well, this incredibly delicious and decidedly unspiky ingredient, known as nopales in Mexico, where it’s eaten in a variety of preparations, is about to revolutionize the way you see breakfast tacos. Crisp, flavorful and succulent, cactus just needs a close shave and a parboil before it’s ready to join this Mexican-veggie scramble. Next time you see them at the market, you’ll know exactly what to do.
- 2 cactus paddles, trimmed of any thorns/blemishes with a vegetable peeler
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 4 eggs beaten
- Salsa, sour, cream and avocado slices (to garnish)
- Slice the trimmed cactus into inch-long strips about 1/2 inch thick.
- Cook in a pot of salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes, or until tender while still retaining a little crispness. You're going for succulent, not soggy. Drain, rinse well under cold water, drain again and set aside.
- Wrap the tortillas in foil and place in a low oven to warm.
- Heat the butter over medium heat in a medium pan until hot and foamy, then sauté the onions, garlic and bell pepper for 7-8 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently.
- Season with salt and pepper, lower the heat, add the cactus paddle strips and cook for another 2 minutes, then pour in the eggs and scramble, stirring frequently, until just set.
- Divide the eggs among the tortillas (double up on tortillas if you're planning to overstuff), garnish with salsa, sour cream and avocado slices and serve immediately.
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