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Sour Prickly Pears (Xoconostle) in Napa!


Ever since my first taste of xoconostle in Guanajuato many years ago, I've been a little sad that I haven't been able to grow or find them here in California. I tried to grow them but it didn't work. I'd almost given up.


Then one day, the heavens decided to smile on me and introduced me to my new food friend, Noel, and with very little sleuthing, he discovered them here in Napa.


When Noel brought me my stash, I quickly fainted. When I came to, I ran from work and went home and tried to recreate a salsa my friends in Mexico had taught me. First the xoconostle were roasted in their skin. I may have gone too far but the charring never reached the flesh of the fruit. I also roasted garlic and briefly toasted some guajillo chiles, all on the comal. I reconstituted the chiles in water and then blended all of the ingredients with some salt in the blender, adding a little water to help the blades move.


It made a delicious salsa. The xoconostle adds a meaty fruitiness that can't be replicated without them. First job for the sauce was to doctor up a poached egg on beans. It worked!


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