Courtesy Mona Anderson.
3 or 4 tunas (prickly pear fruit), peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
2 large mangoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
1 papaya, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
Pine nuts (optional)
Baby coconut (optional)
Other fruit (optional)
1/4 cup lemon (or lime) juice
Chile pequin (dried chile powder, or substitute cayenne) found in Mexican food stores
- In a bowl, combine ingredients up to the lemon juice.
- Add the salt to lemon or lime juice until you can taste the salt, then add the chile powder, until it reaches a level of heat that you like. (The trick is to reach the right combination of lemon, salt, and chile powder. Chile will increase in intensity as it sits.)
- Add the spice mixture to the fruit and toss. In a few minutes, the flavors will mix.
- With a spoon, sample some of the juice at the bottom. Make adjustments to taste: more lemon, salt, or chile powder.
Note: You can cheat and buy ready-made powder of chile, salt and lemon at Mexican food stores. Be aware of the preservatives, though.
To cook tender nopales (prickly pear cactus pads):
- Pare off the spines, cut in small cubes.
- In a very large pot, boil in lightly salted water for about 10 minutes.
- Drain, rinse well, and store. Drain again before using.