Sunday, February 22, 2009

Texas Cactus Fritters

Cactus: nutritious & delicious too!
Cactus or Nopal brought many a Texas rancher through a long hard Winter in the not too distant past. I have heard my Grandfather talk about burning the Prickly Pear Cactus all Winter long so they could keep cattle fed when grass was scarce in the 1930's. Texas A&M University has done extensive research on the benefits of Nopal for both people & animals. Early Spanish explorers were introduced to the Cactus as food source when they met indigenous peoples who used both the fruit produced by the plant as well as the green pads. In South Texas & Mexico the Nopal or tender pads of cactus are used in Salads, Soups & even scrambled into personal favorite. The taste is similar to asparagus or a green bean. Nopal is both high in fiber, vitamins & claims to lower blood sugar levels, as well as help a hangover! For more information check here:

In many Latin grocery stores nopal is easily accessible. The cactus or nopal must be blanched in order to use it in salads or cooked so the texture is acceptable. This recipe simple & can be used as a side dish or appetizer. I made a dipping sauce from Sour Cream & ready made fire roasted Salsa Verde, mixing equal parts. The sauce is nice but by no means necessary.

Texas Cactus Fritters
1 1/2 cups Yellow Corn (can be fresh, canned or frozen as long as it is drained & thawed)
1 cup of Nopal cut into small diced pieces (nopalitos), blanched & well drained
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 cup Poblano Pepper, roasted, peeled & diced
1/4 cup onion, diced1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded, diced
2 Eggs, beaten
3 - 4 Tbsp. milk
2 Tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 cup Corn meal
2 Tbsp. Flour
1 tsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
Mix together corn, peppers, onion, nopal. Add dry ingredients, stir to coat all of the ingredients with the cornmeal mixture. Once this is done add the beaten eggs & then add in the Tbsp. of milk 1 at a time, making the mixture the texture of a sticky texture dough batter. Drop well rounded spoonfuls into hot vegetable oil in skillet & cook over med high heat. Turn them once making certain to brown well on each side. Drain any excess oil onto paper towels & serve at once.

Nopal scrambled into eggs with tomato & green onion.


Chef E said...

I love cactus, but cannot get it up here. If I go home in the next month or so I am bring a few jars up here with me to make these darn fritters girl!

Also I made the brownies today...come look...

Dee said...

Chef E~are you certain there isn't a Latin foods market? I use the juice of the Nopal in with other juices. It is alot like Aloe juice. This stuff is so good for you. I wish you could find the fresh pads...Bravo for those brownies of yours. Way to go! I am mucho impressed.

Dee said...

Chef E~I'm very intrigued on the peanut butter/jalapeno idea too!

Chef E said...

No, latin areas in stores but limited ingredients...I have to make most of my sauces from scratch here which is better...some were not thrilled with the jalapeno's, but they were interesting and hubby said thumbs up and he is a picky snob too, lol

Reeni♥ said...

These look great! When I lived in Tucson I tried prickly pear jelly, it was very sweet but delicious. I have never tried the pads, though. You've made them so delicious, great dip too!

Tangled Noodle said...

My husband enjoys a salad made from cactus at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I've never made it before but only because I hadn't seen a recipe yet!

Anonymous said...

I've never had cactus - those fritters look sooo good! I'll have to see if I can find cactus in my store.

Just Me Again said...

Yummm! I love cactus!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I Think I had cactus candy when we were in New Mexico when I was kid. I would love to try cactus. Your fritters look amazing!

Dee said...

Reeni~the jelly is quite tasty! I made a sauce from the red, ripe tuna fruits years ago. It was awesome over ice cream. I doubt people would guess the flavor is as great as it is!
Tangled Noodle~there are restaurants here which serve the pads grilled with a squeeze of lime, it is delicious.
5 Star~look at the canned good in the Latin foods aisle, you might have luck there as well.
Just me~me too! I somehow knew you would:)
Katherine Aucoin~if you like things spicy (as I suspect a Lousiana native might....)you would enjoy these!

Hornsfan said...

Yummy yummy yummy!!!!

Dee said...

Hornsfan~oh yes, quite high on the yummo-meter! Much different than the daughter related corn fritter catastrophe of 2000! HA!!

girlichef said...

mmmm..this looks great! I need more to do with Nopales, as they are a favorite of my hubby :) I'm loving your blog...I feel at home here!

Chef E said...

Dee- your comment about 'lizard heads' reminds me of my first trip to Mexico City and seeing the giant lizards on a bush while walking around, it kinda freaked me out! I took a pic, but you could not tell what they were, and capers did not come to mind, lol, kids! Now I will think of them, lol said...

These look really fun!! I don't know that I've ever tried cactus but this makes me want to!!

Gloria Chadwick said...

Your Texas Cactus Fritters look really good! I have an award for you on my blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello! :)

Jill said...

Love the playlist!

Dee said...

Girlichef~So glad you feel at home. Enjoyed your blog & the music too.
ChefE~Yes, I have seen those big lizards & was surprised by how many there are in some areas of Mexico & I still love capers! ha!
ChefBliss~Oh, do give them a try.
GloriaChadwick~Thank you so much, I am honored:)
ThankfulPaul~Howdy, thanks for stopping by.

Shayne said...

this looks great. one of my favorite things I found in Mexico is cactus, I love it.