I grew up in East Los Angeles. Growing up surrounded by Mexican heritage, I loved the block I lived on for many reasons. One such reason is the señoras, or older women, of my neighborhood that would go from house to house to swap dishes or share recipes. It was a great way to get social (and nosy) with everyone on the street, and also to sample different cooking.
During the cold months it was all about trading and talking about different soups. “What did so-and-so’s soup taste like?” or “Try this recipe if you’re not feeling well.” During the blistering hot summer months, easy, fast and fresh recipes were passed around. The señoras were huge on nopal salads. I have to say that in my formative years, I was not into these salads at all. I guess it was the consistency that turned me off.
It wasn’t until I was well into my 20s that I made a complete 180 for these very traditional, edible cactus paddles. A huge point of contingency for me now is how nourishing they are. I’ve tried a few variations of this salad and I think that this particular recipe is my favorite. Try it out this summer and be refreshed with this classic, Mexican comfort food.
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