Cactus and sun dried tomato salad


Cactus and Sun Dried Tomato Salad


  • 4 cups Cactus, peeled, blanched and diced
  • 1 cup sun dried tomato in oil, diced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ½ cup black olives, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup really great tasting Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  1. Prepare the cactus leaves by removing the stickers and peeling the cactus. Plunge leaves into boiling water for 1 minute, remove to an ice bath.

  2. When cactus has cooled dice it into ½" cubes. Combine all of the ingredients in a good sized bowl.

  3. Toss to mix thoroughly and combine the ingredients.

  4. Adjust seasoniong with salt and pepper.

  5. Chill until ready to serve.
Chicken and Cactus Gumbo Ingredients:
  • 1lb Chicken thigh meat, boneless, skinless
  • ½ cup Browned flour
  • ½ cup Bacon drippings
  • 2 cups Cactus, thorns removed and diced
  • 1 Yellow onion, medium diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, medium diced
  • 3 Ribs Celery, medium diced
  • 2 quarts Chicken stock, room temperature
  • 1 Tsp Dry Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 dashes Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 Tsp White Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 pound Andouille Sausage
  • 2 Tsp Gumbo File
  1. 1Heat the bacon drippings in a large skillet.

  2. Brown the chicken pieces in the bacon fat and remove.

  3. Add the Onion, bell pepper and celery, reduce heat too medium and sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes.

  4. Increase heat to medium high and add the browned flour to the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook one minute.

  5. Whisk in the cool chicken stock and the diced cactus.

  6. Add the thyme, cumin, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco Sauce, white and cayenne pepper.

  7. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, add the sausage and return the chicken back to the simmering stew.

  8. Cook for 30 minutes.

  9. Add gumbo file. Cook 10 minutes longer.

  10. Serve over cooked white rice.
For the browned flour; Place the flour on a baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes or until flour is chestnut in color.

Cactuses can be found at the Farmer's Market in front of the Ferry Building weekly as well as the majority of the Hispanic Markets in Mission.

Cactuses can also be found at:

San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market 2095 Jerrold Avenue, Suite 212 San Francisco, California 94124 Telephone: (415) 550-4495

Sigonia's Farmers Market 2345 Middlefield Road Redwood City, CA 94063 (across from Costco) 650-368-6993

Event information:


WHAT: The "D'Arrigo Bros. Co., of California, ANDY BOY® Nopalitos Recipe Cook-Off" is calling all individuals that enjoy cooking to submit a recipe that contains nopalitos (cactus leaves). Nopalitos recipe submission is free and open to the public (deadline for recipe submission is August 29, 2009) and the top five recipe entries will be selected by guest judges and prepared by culinary students at the Culinary Center of Monterey. The 2009 ANDY BOY® Nopalitos Recipe Cook?Off will sell out quickly so we encourage you to call today to reserve a seat at $25/person ($35 at the door day of event). At the event, you will sample the top five recipe entries, speak with the chefs, enjoy delicious Monterey County wine, listen to the judges commentary, vote for your favorite dish and chat with 100 of your closest friends in attendance at the event.

WHEN: The ANDY BOY® Nopalitos Recipe Cook-Off will be held on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Prizes will be awarded that evening to the top three recipes by a panel of guest judges.

WHERE: Culinary Center of Monterey
625 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940-1041
(831) 333-2133

WHO: All are welcome to submit a nopalitos recipe, attend and sponsor.

HOW: Nopalitos recipes can be submitted via email to, via fax to 831.455.4301 or via mail to PO Box 850, Salinas, CA 93902 (deadline for recipe submission is August 29, 2009).

PRIZES: First - $750.00, Second - $450.00, Third - $150.00
Photos of winners and their recipes will be posted on and

NEXT STEPS: Reserve your tickets today! Please call the ANDY BOY® Nopalitos Recipe Cook?Off Hotline to secure a seat and/or for recipe submission at 831.455.4315 and speak with Claudia O. Pizarro or email at . We look forward to seeing YOU in historic downtown Monterey, California on Wednesday, September 16, 2009. Don't wait, reserve your seat and bring your family and friends for a fabulous, fun and delectable event!

About Chef Mary Pagan, owner and head chef from the Culinary Center of Monterey
Mary Pagan, combining her extensive management background, ability as a chef and her love for teaching, has developed the Culinary Center of Monterey to share her love of the Culinary Arts with others.

Her concept? to develop a food and wine resource complex. To provide the finest hands on culinary instruction to the general public, as well as experienced chefs and those interested in a career in the culinary field. She wanted to provide a first class International restaurant with great food at reasonable prices in a comfortable family atmosphere. To create a wine and microbrew bar featuring both local and International varieties and to provide a unique venue for parties, large and small, corporate or private. And last but not least, a state licensed and accredited vocational training center for those who are interested in a career in the culinary arts.

Mary has traveled extensively, doing personal appearances across the country, as well as television and radio shows in several states. Mary has also been featured in Newspapers and Magazines across the country including "Bon Appetit" that requested two of her prize- winning recipes for publication in their R.S.V.P. column.

Mary has done recipe development and food styling for large companies such as Uncle Bens, Tanimura & Antle, Desert Glory/Nature Sweet, Driscoll Berries, Ready Ripe, and Mills Family Farms, providing them with new and interesting selling tools for their businesses. One of the busiest undertakings at the CCM is Mary's Team Building Classes for Corporate groups. Many of these groups include Food Manufacturers, Drug companies and Wineries. The Culinary Center is also known for very unique and entertaining private parties that range from elegant gourmet food and wine events to beach parties and Chili cook-offs.

The Culinary Center has received their State of California License for a Culinary Certificate program. This will be a major resource to the many restaurants on the Monterey Peninsula seeking well-trained personnel in the food service industry. Along with this program the Culinary Center is also providing ServSafe Safety and Sanitation certificate classes to provide a local venue for the required food handlers certification required by the state. The Culinary Center has also been named a testing cite by The American Culinary Federation for certification of Executive Chefs.

Mary was given the honor of being nominated and inducted into the very prestigious Les Toques Blanches USA, and Le Dames of Escoffier. Mary is also a fellow with Monterey County Ag Knowledge.

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