Ensalada de Nopales y Camarones (Salad of Cactus and Shrimp)

From La Comida Del Barrio, Latin American Cooking in the U.S., by Aaron Sanchez (Clarkson Potter, 2003)
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 4 Servings


  • 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ medium red onion, diced<
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 medium size fresh nopales
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 medium shrimp (about ½ pound), peeled and deveined, with tails on
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • Lettuce leaves or corn tortillas for serving

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Set aside.

Preheat a ridged grill pan over a medium-high flame. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic and ½ cup of the extra virgin olive oil. Dip the nopales in the garlic oil to coat; season both sides with salt and pepper to taste, reserving garlic oil. Place the cactus on the hot grill and cook until limp, about 4 minutes on each side. When cool, cut the pads into ¼-inch thick strips. Add to the tomato mixture.

Dip the shrimp in the reserved garlic oil to coat and season. Grill for 3 minutes on each side, until firm and pink and add to the tomato-nopales mixture. Pour the vinegar and remaining ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a lettuce leaf or corn tortilla.

Wine Pairing:
A crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc such as the Fairhall Downs Sauvignon Blanc 2003