Makes enough for 24 taquitos or serves 12 (side dish)
- Active time:20 min
- Start to finish:20 min
Cactus paddles (nopales or nopalitos) are an important vegetable in Mexico, particularly in the central and west-central parts of the country. Their flavor—reminiscent of summer’s green beans but with a hint of acidity—adds freshness and succulence to the taquitos.
cactus paddles (nopales or nopalitos)
2 to 3
extra-virgin olive oil
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas); see “Grilling Procedure
Meanwhile, hold each cactus paddle by the stem with a kitchen towel and scrape off any thorns with a sharp knife. Rinse and dry paddles. Brush paddles with oil and grill in 2 batches, covered only if using a gas grill, turning occasionally, until softened and lightly charred, 3 to 6 minutes.
Trim off about 1 inch of hard stems from 8 paddles, then cut paddles crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips and season with salt (preferably coarse). Make 5 lengthwise cuts in each whole paddle, almost to stem, so paddles resemble “hands.”