From: Chef Richard Sandoval, Tamayo, Denver. Yield: 5 servings.
10 oz. cactus leaves, blanched
5 oz. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
10 oz. roasted red beets, cut into ½” cubes
1 oz. micro cilantro
2½ oz. red onion, cut into slices
5 oz. panela cheese, chile cascabel crusted
1 oz. olive oil
1 oz. cotija cheese, ground
½ oz. lime juice
1 pinch of salt
1 oz. chile cascabel roasted almonds
1 oz. cascabel chile powder
5 Tbsp. avocado foam
Chocolate Reduction (½ quart):
1 gallon orange juice
1 piece Abuelita chocolate
1 tasting spoon habanero salsa
Cook cactus in water, salt and white vinegar. Cut cheese into rectangles, about 1”, and cover with cascabel powder. Mark cheese on iron and cut into thin slices. Cut tomatoes in half. Cut beets into cubes, approximately 1”. Soak almonds in water and sprinkle with cascabel powder and sugar; bake for 15 minutes at 325°F.
In a pot, reduce orange juice, Mexican chocolate and habanero salsa. Let reduce about 3 hours over low heat until mixture reaches the consistency of a demiglace. Mix in cold nopales, onions, tomatoes, roasted beets, cottage cheese, lime juice, olive oil and salt.
To plate: Place a spoonful of avocado foam, forming a line on the plate. On the foam, add salad in a straight line. Place 4 slices of cheese in a zigzag pattern. Cover salad with chocolate reduction. Sprinkle almonds over salad.