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Stuffed Cactus Paddles (Nopales Rellenos)

When preparing cactus (nopal) paddles, make sure you wear gloves to avoid the agüates or tiny thorns. Use a potato peeler or small paring knife to remove them. Better still, obtain spineless cactus pads. (If you need spineless cactus for your garden, please ask for some at the TCC meeting).

Ingredients:
12 tender cactus (nopal) paddles
3 cups water
6 slices of Manchego or Panela cheese
1/4 onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 clove garlic
salt to taste
1/2 cup flour
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cup oil


Preparation:

Boil the nopales in the 3 cups of water with the garlic, onion and salt for 10 minutes. Drain.

On each of 6 cactus pads, place a slice of cheese and 3 or 4 pieces of onion. Top with another cactus pad. Secure with wooden toothpicks and dredge in the flour after dipping them in the batter described below.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then add the yolks and beat for 1 or 2 minutes more.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Fry until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Serve drenched with cooked tomato salsa.

Serves 6