Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fried Nopales

I was looking for something new to do with cactus and ended up with this.  Actually, the photo isn't going to match your final product because I changed the recipe after and didn't take a picture.  It'll look pretty close, with more coating.

I was hoping these sticks would be more crunchy, like the veggie version of mozzarella sticks.  They aren't completely limp, and I read that they do get stiffer if you cook them at least 15 minutes.  I got nervous they were getting overcooked and pulled them after about 10.  Besides, I get nervous when frying anything for a long time because of the fat it may be absorbing.  These do not absorb much oil.  I just felt like they did.

Unlike boiled or steamed nopales, fried ones don't get that sticky goo all over them.  I'm not sure if it is fried off or the sap simply never runs out of them.  Either way, it's good news for those who don't want to eat sticky vegetables.

2 medium size nopales paddles
1 egg
*1/2 C masa flour
1/2 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp chili powder
vegetable oil for frying
lemon or lime juice for serving

1.  Hold the base of a paddle with a kitchen towel.  Using a vegetable peeler, remove remaining needles, working away from you.  Don't forget to get the edges and tips.  Once both sides of paddle are clean, do the other one.  Slice crosswise into 1/2" strips.

2.  In a shallow dish (I use a pie pan), beat egg with a bit of water to make an egg wash.  In another shallow pan, stir together masa flour, salt, and chili powder.  Pour 1/8" oil into a medium skillet, turn on fan, and heat over medium-high until water dances on it.

3.  Dip nopales slices in egg wash to coat, then coat in masa flour mixture.  Gently place in skillet and fry until coating is crisp, at least 5 minutes.  Turn slices and cook until that side is crisp.  You will probably need to do two batches to fry all of them.  Remove cooked strips to a paper towel-lined plate until cool enough to handle.

4.  To serve, either drizzle with lemon or lime juice or provide a side of salsa or something else to use as dip.

Difficulty rating  :)

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