A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Prickly Pear Margaritas

While perusing the extensive produce section of a nearby Latino grocery store, I was impressed with the beautiful pyramid of magenta prickly pear cactus fruit.  I went home and googled prickly pear.  I discovered that this cactus, a true cactus, is the Opuntia, native to the Western hemisphere.  The paddles as well as the fruit are eaten (I see those sold as nopales).  I've seen the fruit and even had uncomfortable encounters with them in the wilds of coastal Georgia (of all places).  But what the heck do you do them?  I came up with lots of hits for jams, candies, lemonade and even pie.  And... bingo: margaritas!  Cinco de Mayo is a perfect excuse to make and consume tequila, and Prickly Pear Margaritas would make it a real celebration.

I first found this recipe on epicurius.com, but Bill (my mixologist in-resident) made us our own version, which was delicious and refreshing:

Bill's Prickly Pear Margarita 
(serves 2)
4 peeled ripe prickly pears (click here to read about avoiding the tiny, hair-like prickles)
4 ounces tequila, plus a splash
1 1/2 ounces Cointreau
1 1/2 ounces Fresh lime juice
1 1/2 T simple syrup
coarse salt for the rim (or not)

Toss everything into the blender.  Strain through a fine/medium fine sieve to remove cactus fruit seeds. Pour into a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake! 
Pour into margarita glasses (or if you are like us, wine glasses).
Relax and enjoy (and don't plan on driving anywhere)!

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