After eight years of subscribing to Abundant Harvest Organics, one might expect that I’d know all the fruits and veggies. There wouldn’t be any that I still needed to try… right?! Wrong.
The nopal is the pad or leaf of the cactus. It has a bit of an aloe vera or okra like feel to it. You could eat it raw, with tomatoes, in a salad. But, I wanted to do a little something more.
I’ve heard of people making tomato jam. That intrigues me. There are relishes, chutneys, confit, fruit butters, conserves… I wanted to try something fun like this with the nopales. We got tomatoes in our box this week – the first of the season for us. I love when tomatoes are in full swing. There’s nothing quite like a ripe tomato still warm from the sun. These tomatoes weren’t warm. Nor was it sunny. But, they were the perfect compliment to the nopales.
This is a super simple recipe. It’s a little like a salsa as there are tomatoes, onions, garlic, and a bit of heat. But, I also added a bit of sweetness. It really could be almost any of those aforementioned condiments, but I think it’s most like a relish.
I brought it to a quick boil, then let it simmer and reduce down for about 15 minutes. After just a quick chop for the tomatoes and nopales, spring onions and fresh garlic, all you really have to do is give it the occasional stir and mash it a few times. Easy.
You could just leave it chunky, but I like my salsas and jams a little smoother, so I blended it up a bit with a hand blender (a regular blender or food processor would work fine too).
After that, all that’s left to do is decide what to serve it with. May I suggest serving the relish atop avocados on toast, on crostini, like salsa (for quesadillas, taco salad, or corn chips), with brie and crackers, or use it to top fried tofu, chicken, or beef.
- 3 1/2 C tomatoes, chopped
- 1 1/2 C nopales, chopped
- 1/2 C spring onion (or green or regular onion), chopped
- 2-3 T chopped fresh garlic (or 2-3 garlic cloves), diced
- to taste salt
- good sprinkle cayenne
- 1 T plus 1 t lemon juice, divided
- 3 t maple syrup (or 2 t maple syrup and 1 t honey)
- Place the tomatoes through maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat. After about 5 minutes/once tomatoes have released some of their juices, mash (with a potato masher), bring to a rolling boil and cook for about 1 minute. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened about 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining lemon juice.
- Optional: Blend with hand blender (or regular blender or food processor) (it can also be left chunky). Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.
Serve with avocados on toast, on crostini, like salsa (for quesadillas, taco salad, or corn chips), with brie and crackers, or use it to top fried tofu, chicken, or beef.