Nopales (cactus) and scrambled eggs are an important food staple in Mexico. I admit that the first time I was offered a scramble of nopales I thought it was unusual to eat a food with cactus leaves in it.
Believe it or not, nopales, onion, eggs and tomatoes wrapped into a burrito make for a nutritional breakfast that everyone will enjoy.
In my bicultural home I created the Nopales Frittata Burrito, enjoyed immensely by my Italian Mexican son and all his friends. Try this recipe – the burritos won’t last very long!
Prep time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
FIRST, COOK THE NOPALES:
2 to 3 large fresh nopales (cactus leaves), without thorns and cut into 1/2-inch squares, rinsed and drained
One 15-ounce jar cooked nopales, rinsed, drained and cut into 1/2-inch squares
1. To cook fresh nopales: In a 5-quart saucepot bring 12 cups water and half the onion to a boil.
2. Add the fresh cut nopales and cook on medium-low heat, uncovered, 3 to 4 minutes or until nopales turn a lime green color.
3. Drain and rinse the nopales in a colander under cold water.
4. Discard onion, drain nopales again and set aside.
NEXT, PREPARE THE NOPALES FRITTATA:
1 medium brown or white onion, peeled and halved
3 large egg yolks
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 vine-ripened tomato, quartered, pulp removed and flesh cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1. Meanwhile, chop the remaining onion in 1/2-inch pieces and set aside in a small bowl.
2. In a separate 4-cup mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, egg whites and salt together; set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Stir fry either fresh or jarred nopales with the chopped onion on medium heat, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the tomato pieces and stir fry an additional 2 minutes or until onion is translucent and mixture begins drying out. Set heat on low and pour the egg mixture over the nopales, onion and tomato in skillet.
5. Cover and cook about 2 minutes or until underside of frittata looks golden when lifted with a spatula.
6. Divide frittata into 4 to 6 wedges and flip each wedge over. Cook on low heat an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
7. Transfer the frittata pieces to a flat plate and set aside.
FINALLY, HEAT THE TORTILLAS & ASSEMBLE THE BURRITOS:
Four to six 8-inch flour tortillas
1. In the same skillet set over medium-low heat, warm two tortillas at a time, turning them over every 30 seconds until warmed through.
2. Repeat with remaining tortillas while beginning to assemble the burritos.
3. Place a warm tortilla on an individual plate and set a frittata wedge in its center horizontally.
4. Roll up one-third of the tortilla, folding in the sides to seal and roll up completely. Repeat with remaining tortillas and frittata wedges.
Serve with a favorite salsa or garnish with tomato slices.
Note: Fresh nopales (cactus leaves) are sold at farmers’ markets or Latin American markets, flesh cut into squares and bagged. If buying whole cactus leaves with thorns, place one leaf at a time in a large paper bag set on a counter and scrape off the thorns with a knife. The bag will prevent thorns from flying towards you or all over your kitchen.
Text ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real
Burrito Photograph Only ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real