Friday, April 20, 2007

Abuelita's Corn Tortillas with Nopales Salsa

Although I worked in Berkeley for almost 3 years, it took Shuna's Knife Skills Class and a previously unknown amount of free (read:without children) time to make my way to the famed Berkeley Bowl. This is a famous grocery store that carries a lot of produce you don't find in your run-of-the -mill store and the kind of place that carries 10 varieties of lemons and plenty of tofu. I was very excited to find nopales (cactus) leaves , but was even more excited to find debarbed, chopped nopales in a bag for $2. Having recently seen a soup recipe that called for nopales (and, if you wrote it, please email me the link, 'cos now I can't find it!), this was an easy purchasing decision.

(Postscript: The soup is Hominy & Cactus Soup from Lydia at The Perfect Pantry. Thanks Lydia)

Although I'm a Brit and love English Food, one of the great things about moving to California (along with the sun, coast, and artichokes) was my discovery of Mexican Food. I love Mexican flavors and, in a phase in my youth, subsisted on quesadillas (along with several dinner companions) for a very long time.

So what the heck does cactus taste like? It tastes like a grassy, succulent (ha!), mild green pepper, slightly sweet and slightly bitter. I used my diced nopales in a salsa with chopped tomatoes, red onion, avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, and Pace picante sauce and really enjoyed this addition. Served with Abuelita's Sonora Style Corn Tortillas (with Green Chile & Gilroy Garlic, also purchased at Berkeley Bowl) with melted cheddar cheese, these salsa-topped corn tortillas were totally amazing! Abuelita's corn tortilla's (made in Sacramento) are so tender and flavorful, they even taste fantastic raw. Locals: if you see these, buy them and indulge!


Blogger Lydia said...

Catherine, didn't find your email, so I hope you don't mind but here's the link to the nopales soup I posted last week:

8:29 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Thank you, Lydia! I still have noples to try this!

8:36 PM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

Salt Lake just got a great new Mexican grocery store that has peeled, diced cactus, and I was thinking it would be fun to try! It's quite an amazing store, almost a cross between a farmer's market with tons of local produce and specialty Mexican products. Thanks for the inspiration.

8:46 PM  
Blogger winedeb said...

Cannot wait to get off the island and up north so I can try some of your goodies. Heading to Ohio soon and looking forward to farmers markets and foodie shops!
Great photos!

8:55 AM  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Brava, Caterina! Nopalitos. Muy delicioso.
I learned a technique for roasting the cubed chunks on a cookie sheet until they disgorge a little liquid, and then when the liquid dries up (still in the oven), you may assume they're done.
But it sounds like you ate yours raw. Must try that.
(Also! Now we have a link to the cactus soup; too cool.)

11:04 AM  
Blogger Johanna3 said...

i love mexican food! yum this looks very good.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love these tortillas! They are so good! You have never had a tortilla until you have a good one! Thanks for the receipe!

5:25 PM  

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