Cactus isn’t just an icon of the American Southwest. It isn’t just a sharp nuisance that plagues the likes of Wile E. Coyote. No, mi amigos. Cactus is also the source of water when you are lost in the dessert. It can be used as a weapon to protect yourself from Area 51 aliens or the worm creatures from Tremors. But few recognize that it is damn tasty and mighty nutritious. I learned this when I was visiting relatives in Santa Fe from a beautiful mixed Mexican/Native American girl named Lupita. She thought I was funny and for some reason invited me to her mother’s adobe pueblo for lunch. My gringo senses were shocked to see Lupita’s mama slicing up a cactus nopales she cut off massive peyote cactus in their front yard. It was love at first bite. The taste of this imaginative style of fajitas got my mind and loins racing. Sadly, Lupita is a good Catholic girl and did not fall for my charms. I instead plotted how to make this dish my own so I could employ it on my future Lupitas. This dish rarely fails to impress and inspire my dates…to get naked.
Total time: approximately 15 minutes
Projected cost: $7
Drinking Buddy: Cerveza and more cerveza!
Ingredients (serves 2):
1. 1 cactus nopales
3. 2 teaspoons of fajita seasoning
4. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
5. 1 onion chopped into long strips
6. 1 tomato chopped coarsely
7. 1 pound of chicken cut into bit sized strips
8. 1 handful of shredded jack cheese
9. ½ sliced avocado
10. 6 corn tortillas heated (not pictured)
Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the fajita seasoning and allow the flavor to absorb (approx 5 minutes). Stir fry the chicken in olive oil and cook through. Set aside.
Slice off the cactus spikes, skin and edges, then cut into strips. Heat olive oil in a pan and stir-fry the onion until they soften (approx 2 minutes), then toss in the cactus and tomatoes, and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of fajitas seasoning. Stir it around until the tomatoes dissolve and become a spicy sauce coating the onions and cactus (approx 4 minutes). Set aide.
Create a fajita filling station that will give your date(s) an option of what to take. This will allow vegetarians and vegans to assemble something unobjectionable. With any luck, there will be plenty of objectionable activities to follow.