I live in a farming community in Southern California just inland from Ventura Beach. There are many local markets which sell a beautiful assortment of typical Mexican food staples. My favorite is Tresierras Market in Santa Paula.
Nopales, or cactus, is a common and very healthy ingredient used in Mexican cooking. It’s an excellent source of manganese, vitamin C, and calcium. Most nopales are imported from nearby Mexico, and come from the Opuntia Cacti variety, but it’s also farmed here and in the southwest. It grows wild in the ranch across the road, and I’ve had a sobering experience trying to pick the pink globular cactus fruit that grows on it in spring. It has invisible and painful needles that stick into gloveless hands. Eek!
In my community, you can buy nopales cleaned, peeled, and already bagged for you at the market. But it also can be peeled and chopped up straight from the cactus plant. Just stay away from the little fruits on it, if you do so, and pick only the green paddle shaped leaves. I used conveniently cleaned and bagged nopales in my recipe.
2 tsp. coconut oil
4 cups cleaned and chopped nopales
1/2 a small chopped onion.
3 beaten eggs
spicy fresh Mexican salsa( make sure there are no added sugars)
a sprig of cilantro for garnish.
1. Put the chopped nopales in a pot with 2 quarts of salted (1/4 tsp.) water. Bring to a gentle boil and keep watch that it doesn’t boil over. Let it simmer about ten minutes. There will be a lot of sticky gunk that floats to the surface. Then rinse well with water.
2. Saute the chopped onion in coconut oil for two minutes. Then add nopales and saute for two more minutes.
3. Add two mixed eggs. Saute until eggs harden a bit.
4. Remove from heat and top with 1/2 an avocado, some salsa, and the cilantro garnish.