From,"Colorado Colore: A Palate of Tastes," published in cooperation with your Daily Inbox Newsletter.INGREDIENTS for Salad:

  • 6 dried large red Anaheim chiles
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh whole or chopped cactus pads (nopales), or 1-1/2 cups drained canned chopped cactus
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, trimmed, torn, chilled
  • 4 ounces watercress, trimmed, torn, chilled
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced radishes
  • 1 pound queso asadero or mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 ripe large avocados
INGREDIENTS for Cider Dressing:
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 

For the salad, wipe the chiles with a damp tea towel.  Cut the chiles crosswise into thin strips, discarding the seeds and stems.  Combine the chiles and olive oil in a skillet.  Cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the chiles are crisp, stirring constantly.  Remove the chiles to a bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving the oil for the dressing.  Secure the fresh cactus pad with tongs and use a knife to scrape off any spines or prickly hairs; wear gloves to protect hands.  Trim around the edge of each pad if the skin is tough.  Cut the cactus into 1/2-inch squares.

Bring the water to a boil in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan over high heat.  Add the cactus; reduce the heat.  Simmer for 5 minutes or until the cactus is barely tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain the cactus and rinse to remove any mucilaginous coating.  Do not cook canned cactus.

Layer the spinach, watercress, cactus, onion, radishes and cheese 1/2 at a time in a large salad bowl.  You may store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours at this point.  Slice the avocados just before serving.  Arrange the avocado slices and Anaheim chiles over the top of the salad.

For the dressing, whisk the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper and reserved chili oil in a bowl.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat.  Serve immediately. 

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