Prickly Pears Gone Very Wrong
It all started when I saw these little green gems at the market. The sign above them touted them as green cactus pears. "Green cactus pear?" I thought. "What is a green cactus pear? Is it the same thing as prickly pear? And how do you eat it?"
I was intrigued and so I took my two little friends home. After doing some research, I found that a green cactus pear is indeed just another name for a prickly pear. This site provided some helpful information on how to store, cut, and eat them.
Armed with this information, I checked out some prickly pear recipes online. When we lived in Boston, I'd routinely get a fresh prickly pear margarita at Cottonwood Cafe. This drink was so good, as was the rest of the food there, incidentally. So I know I like prickly pear margaritas and I assume I'd like all sorts of other prickly pear beverages.
Given that, I decided I wanted to taste the fruit more completely and not have it pulverized by a blender into some sort of cocktail. One serving suggestion I found said that lime and cream make nice accompaniments to prickly pear. So I cut open the fruit:
And served it with whipped cream, a splash of fresh lime juice and a sprig of mint on top.
Yuck. To be honest with you, this did not taste very good.
On the prickly pear: I was impressed with how easy to peel it was. After cutting into it, the outer "shell" almost pops off. So that was much easier than I expected. It was extremely seedy inside and although a few web sites recommend eating the seeds, I found them to be too crunchy to tolerate beyond the first couple bites. The fruit's flesh has a really unique berry and melon flavor, which is pleasant, but the overall texture isn't ideal.
On the lime and whipped cream: The lime and whipped cream did complement the prickly pear flavor ok, I guess, but this was still a very weird dessert.
So what I learned from this experiment was: Prickly pear margaritas are good. Prickly pears doused with lime and whipped cream are bad.
The garbage disposal ate more of this dessert than I did, but it was still fun to experiment. Next time I get a prickly pear urge, I'll fire up the blender for a margarita.