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Photo: Iain Bagwell
- 3 medium nopales pads (12 oz. total), prepped (see "Nopales Basics," below)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
- About 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 1/4 pounds skirt steak, cut in half crosswise
- 2 1/2 qts. (5 oz.) baby romaine lettuce leaves
- 3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro sprigs
- 10 radishes, quartered
- 1 large poblano chile
- 1/2 cup coarsely crumbled cotija cheese*
- 1/3 cup roasted, salted hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)*
1 Hour, 15 Minutes
- 1. Heat a grill to high (450° to 550°). Cut parallel slashes on nopales about 1 in. apart from tips to 1 1/2 in. from bases (keep bases intact). In a small bowl, whisk oil, lime juice, oregano, 3/4 tsp. salt, and the cayenne. Spoon 2 tbsp. dressing into a medium bowl, add steak, and toss to coat; set aside. Brush nopales with a little dressing. Set remaining dressing aside.
- 2. Put lettuce, cilantro, and most of radishes in a large bowl; cover and chill.
- 3. Grill chile, turning often, until blackened all over, about 10 minutes. Grill nopales, turning once, until juices cook off and bright color fades, 6 to 8 minutes.
- 4. Let vegetables cool briefly, then cut nopales into 1/2- by 2-in. strips. Peel, stem, seed, and chop chile. Toss vegetables in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup dressing.
- 5. Grill steak, turning once, until grill marks appear, 4 to 5 minutes. Set on a board; let rest briefly. Slice across grain on a diagonal; toss with nopales and chile.
- 6. Add remaining dressing to lettuce and toss to coat. Arrange on a platter. Put steak mixture in the center. Sprinkle with cotija, pumpkin seeds, and remaining radishes. Season with more salt to taste.
- Nopales Basics:
- BUY. Some supermarkets and Latino markets sell cactus with the spines, and others sell it de-stickered and ready to use--whole or cut up. When buying whole pads, look for ones that are smooth, crisp, and small to medium size.
- PREP. To remove spines from pads, put on dish gloves. Scrape a knife almost flat down the length of both sides of pads to shave off spines and barbed, fuzzy dots. Pare rims with a vegetable peeler. Trim bases; rinse pads.
- COOK. Once nopales hit the heat, they release a sticky juice (like okra), but it cooks off.
- Instructions for sautéing: Cut nopales into 1/2- by 2-in. strips. In a frying pan, sauté nopales over high heat with 2 tsp. oil until pan is mostly dry, 5 minutes. Reduce heat; cook until barely tender, 3 minutes more.
- *Find cotija and hulled pumpkin seeds at well-stocked grocery stores and Latino markets. If seeds are raw, sauté over medium heat with 1 tsp. oil, stirring often, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Salt to taste.
- Calories: 654
- Calories from fat: 73%
- Protein: 36g
- Fat: 54g
- Saturated fat: 16g
- Carbohydrate: 8g
- Fiber: 3.6g
- Sodium: 1001mg
- Cholesterol: 88mg