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Ensalada de Nopalitos

In the first scene in the movie, Martin cuts his own cactus paddles.

1 1/2 pound fresh or prepared cactus paddles, needles removed 
 (available at Mexican food stores) 
3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 roma tomatoes
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 to 2 serrano chilies, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
2 or 3 bunches cilantro,leaves only, chopped
1/2 cup finely grated anejo or parmesan cheese
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

This is how Martin did it in the movie. Preheat the grill or broiler. Place the cactus paddles in a bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Grill or broil the paddles, turning once until grill marks appear or they turn dark green with black patches. 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside and cool to room temperature. Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.

Cut the cactus into 1/2 inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine the cactus, tomatoes, onion, chilies, cilantro and cheese. Add the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, the vinegar and salt and pepper. Mix well. Serve on a place lined with romaine leaves.

Serves 10

Note: You can substitute canned cactus in this recipe. Skip the grilling part and go right to preparing the salad.

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