Jícama, Orange and Nopalitos Salad | Desert Botanical Garden


Courtesy of Barbara Pool Fenzl
Nopales are the dark green, fleshy pads of the prickly pear cactus and taste like tart green beans. Nopalitos are the diced or sliced nopales that are sold either fresh in the produce department or pickled in jars in larger supermarkets and Latino groceries. 
Makes 4-6 servings


1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon crushed anise seed
1 chiltepin, crushed (available from Native Seed Search – see mail order sources)
1/4 cup Queen Creek olive oil (substitute a good extra virgin olive oil)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups julienned nopales (found fresh in Hispanic groceries – do not use canned)
2 cups matchstick-size pieces of jicama (best done on a Japanese mandoline)
1 jar (4 ounces) pimentos, drained
3 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup cooked cholla buds (see mail order sources)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 bunches watercress, washed and stems removed
For the dressing:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, agave syrup, anise seed and chiltepin.  Slowly whisk in olive oil until well incorporated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the salad: In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the salad ingredients.  Add dressing and toss well.
Assembly: Divide the watercress among 4 to 6 salad plates. Spoon salad on top of watercress and serve immediately.

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