- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds buffalo sirloin, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
- 2 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and finely chopped tomatoes and their juice
- 2 cups chopped, roasted green New Mexico chiles, or less to taste
- 1 lime, juiced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dozen corn tortillas, accompaniment
- Sour cream, accompaniment
- Grated Monterey Jack cheese, accompaniment
Cactus Paddle Salad with Oranges, Peaches and Pecans:
- 1 pound fresh cactus paddles (nopales), about 6 medium
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon Essence
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
- 2 seedless Arizona Sweets Oranges, peeled and segmented, juices reserved
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced, plus 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ripe peaches, seeded and diced
- 1/2 sweet onion, such as Texas 1015, Maui, or Walla Walla, thinly sliced
- 6 cups fresh baby lettuces
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped lightly toasted pecans
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the meat with the Essence and quickly sear, remove from the pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and chiles and cook for 3 minutes. Add the buffalo meat back to the pan and toss to coat well. Season with lime, salt, and pepper.
On a hot griddle or in a hot large skillet, heat the tortillas quickly, about 30 seconds each. Serve the buffalo in a tortilla with the desired accompaniments.
To make the cactus salad: Preheat a grill or broiler.
Lay the cactus paddles flat side down on a work surface. To remove the thorns, with a knife or vegetable peeler, carefully scrape horizontally from the narrow base of paddles toward the wider end. Repeat on the other sides and trim around the edges. Lightly rub with vegetable oil and season with Essence. Grill or broil, 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 refrigerate until well chilled. Cut the cactus paddles into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar and reserved orange juices. Add the chile and adobo, and whisk well. Add the oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly to form an emulsion. Add 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and salt and pepper, to taste, and whisk to incorporate. In another bowl, add the peaches, oranges, and onions, and cactus paddles and enough dressing to lightly coat. In a third bowl, toss the lettuces with enough dressing to lightly coat.
Divide the lettuces among 6 salad plates and arrange the cactus paddle mixture on top. Top each serving with cilantro and pecans and drizzle with additional dressing as desired. Serve with buffalo fajita.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.