Zucchini and cactus taco
At Puesto, with locations in San Diego, La Jolla and Irvine, Calif., cactus can be found in several ways. This taco features cactus, zucchini, corn, tomato and avocado folded into melted cheese in a house-made corn tortilla.
Cured nopales (the soft pads of underdeveloped prickly pears) make a plate statement with pickled red onions, cherry tomatoes and queso fresco.
Nopales and lime gelato
Cactus can be dessert as well, shown here also at Puesto, in a dairy-free gelato prepared by Bobboi Gelato in a proprietary recipe for the restaurant. It’s perfect when paired with mezcal.
`Cactus confit with citrus peel and star anis
Truss & Twine
Truss & Twine’s Chef Michael Beckman pairs this tender take on cactus with Drake Farm’s goat cheese, bougainvillea dust and honey from Temecula, Calif.
Oysters ponzu Buena
Taking cactus in a seafaring direction, Nikkei in Dallas offers Beausoleil oysters with cactus pear gelée and tangy ponzu.
At Gracias Madre, cactus gets the down-home treatment of long, simmering stewing. The result is cactus as comfort food.