I’ve always been intrigued with the vibrant pink color of the prickly pear. A couple of weeks ago, I spotted some on sale while grocery shopping. I figured… why not? It’s my day off so let’s make some margaritas! Admittedly, I had never purchased these before, nor had I actually worked with them. I did what everyone else does these days and searched Google to see what I needed to do to process this super cool cactus (vegetable/fruit/flower?).
The prickly pear, also known as the cactus pear, is named for its shape and size and ranges in color from green to purplish red. It has a melonlike aroma, mildly sweet, but fairly bland in flavor. Good thing the color is so beautiful! When choosing the fruit at the store, it should have a slight give to palm pressure and have a deep even color.
Here are the steps of how I prepped the cacti (which is a really fun word to use):
- Cut off both ends of the prickly pears.
- Using a paring knife, make a slit on one side.
- Use your hands to easily peel away the exterior.
- Place in VitaMix, or blender, to puree.
- Pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds – the puree will be somewhat viscus (think okra or nopales).
Once the puree was ready, I used one of Bobby Flay’s recipes for Frozen Cactus Pear Margaritas. Just to let you know, this recipe packs a strong punch in the alcohol department. I kept adding ice to my VitaMix as I was blending to tone it down a bit and get it to the consistency I desired. Throw together some Veggie Enchiladas and you’re all set.
This is the perfect margarita for your end of summer parties, or just for you on your day off! If you’re a fan of cocktails, check out The Chopping Block's Summer Cocktails and Appetizers demonstration cooking class at Lincoln Square on August 24, or join us at the Merchandise Mart as The Violet Hour Presents: From Prohibition to Patios, Easy-Drinking Classic Cocktails that same evening.