Monday, April 26, 2010

Iron chef ingredient theme: cactus...

Yes folks, it is not just for storing water in the dessert and letting Spike rest his back against.  The cactus is edible and last year I had the first try with the fruit, the prickly pear and after peeling it, chopping it and boiling it I was able to make a low calories and interesting jam, out of the fruit.  Now, a random, for fun, trip to Whole Foods inspired me to purchase 7 cactus leaves. I bought them because I remember them coming up in a box for the Food Network show "Chopped" and no one had a clue what to do with it.  Well, in case you are ever left with a few leaves of cactus and wonder what to do with it, here was my experiment, which turned out well.

You first have to clean them and the easiest method I did was to get the sharpest knife you have, in my case it was a ceramic kitchen knife, and slice against the grain, slicing each 'eye' off with the needles.  Oh yes, please be careful, those needles drive in deep and fast and hurt. Some people online suggested a cleaning pad, and that didn't work too well as it took off some of the skin, revealing the slimy insides.  Also, other suggested using a vegetable peeler on the whole thing and again, that leaves only the slimy inside. How slimy? Not as slimy as Okra but close.

The next part was easy, as many online sources suggested everything from grilling to boiling and by far the easiest thing to do was just slice it up, and saute' in a pan with some olive oil for about 8 minutes on high heat.  After 8 minutes, it was tender and had gone from bright green to a darker olive green color. I tasted like cooked green beans and I wanted to do something fun with it. So, inspired by its Mexican culture, or South American ideals, I added some chopped garlic, onion, tomatoes, green chilis and some freshly cooked quinoa to the pan, along with a good helping of salt and pepper.
All in all, everything turned out good so if you are interested in my recipe, or more information of what I did, let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Wow this is really something. Tasted like cooked green peas? Isnt it a bit slimy? I imagined the green part a bit bitter. If it tasted like that then it would go well with some pork recipe or something like that.