I had the pleasure of being invited to do a Gringo Gourmet Cactus Cooking talk at the Sierra Vista Master Gardeners Annual High on the Desert Gardening and Landscape Conference in March. It was fun to introduce the Arizonans to new ideas about enjoying prickly pear cactus. One of the audience told me I had just changed her menu for a dinner party she was planning. I shared a recipe I developed with ingredients for the filling of the Nopal Chile Rellenos at a favorite El Paso restaurant – Sabertooth. I tweeted it a little to make it my own and enjoy serving it cold and as an ingredient in hot dishes. The Sierra Vista group got to taste it on mini-sweet peppers and on a tortilla as a mini taco. I’ve posted the it below with a photo of a couple of ways I use it. Both will be featured in the next El Paso Cactus and Rock Club News letter in April.
Fellow El Paso Master Gardener Doc Stalker did a great talk on Roses in the Desert at the conference. We West Texan Master Gardeners have a lot in common with our Arizona friends. We’re glad that we were able to share some of your experiences with them.
Gringo Gourmet Magic Mix
A Versatile Recipe for Your Imagination to Enjoy
16 oz chopped nopales
16 oz chopped roasted, peeled and seeded long green chile
16 oz. frozen corn
1 jar Mexican table crema (regular sour cream thinned with milk may be substituted)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 guacamole salsa – jarred or made fresh (if making fresh, add lime juice to prevent discoloring of the avocado.
1 round asadero cheese
Sauté nopalitos in olive oil until sticky secretion is reduced. Add one Tbsp water at a time to create steam and accelerate evaporation of sticky stuff. Nopalitos are done when dark green and majority of sticky stuff is gone. At this point, you may choose to rinse the nopalitos to get all the sticky off.
Add chile if using fresh. If using jarred, let drain in a colander. You might need to press some moisture out.
Pour frozen corn into a hot dry skillet. Stir and let the corn thaw and take on a little brown color. You may use fresh corn cut off the cob, in season.
Mix nopales, chile and corn together. Stir in crema until moist, but not too wet.
Things to do with the Gringo Gourmet Magic Mix
Halve and seed mini colored peppers. Stir whipped cream cheese into Magic Mix to get the consistency of a dip. And serve with the halved peppers and/or tostadas.
Stuff long green chiles or poblanos with mix, chill and serve on a bed of lettuce as a cool salad. Garnish with squiggles of guacamole salsa and a sprinkle of grated or crumbled cotija or asadero cheese
Cactus Enchilada Casserole
Add more crema to Magic Mix to moisten and layer with corn tortillas in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with cotija cheese. Heat in a 350 oven until heated warm through and cheese is soft.
Garnish with squiggles of avocado salsa and serve. Note: do not over heat because the crema will break. You can even add a few spoonsful of guacamole salsa to the Magic Mix.
When no one is looking…
Use a spoon or your finger and clean the Magic Mix bowl. That’s the cook’s reward!
Gringo Gourmet Magic Mix on the Plate.