One or two nopalitos per person
1. If spines are present, remove them carefully by holding the pad by the stem end (wear gloves or hold with dish towel) and cutting, with a sharp knife, against the grain, removing the bumps that are around all of the spines.
2. After you have removed the spines, use a sharp knife to score crosshatch in the paddle from the round end toward the base, about 1/3 inch apart, being careful not to cut through the base. (This not only makes them look pretty after grilling but helps to speed the cooking process and to reduce some of the mucilage from the pads.)
3. Brush each paddle lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a grill pan or a cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat, or on an outdoor grill (mesquite wood/chips really give a great flavor)...sear the paddles, allowing three to four minutes per side, until they are yellowish green with charred spots. If they start to curl, press down on the paddles with spatula or even a potato masher, if necessary, to keep them in contact with the surface of the pan.
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Recipe courtesy of Loretta Oden
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