Photograph by Marcus Nilsson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Grilled Sausage & Cactus Salad

Mains from Issue 3 – Spring / Summer 2013 – Rough Cut

Two female best friends and three drag queens hit the open road—the former for a vacation that turns into a crime spree, and the latter for a nightclub gig— in these road trip classics about the journey, not the destination. Our bright cactus salad and grilled sausage (we can imagine a few characters might be eager to skewer one) feel well-suited for their dusty, desert environs.

serves 4

  • 1 ½ lb fresh nopales, about 6-8 fresh cactus paddles (the canned variety will work if you can't find fresh)
  • 6 scallions, divided
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 fresh sausages, like spicy chorizo or mild chicken sausage
  • 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • handful cilantro leaves
  • 4 oz queso fresco, crumbled

  • 1

    Being careful not to touch or grab hold of the thorns, trim them off the nopales with a small, sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Then trim all around edge. Cut off thick base at stem end and rinse well. Slice into 2 to 3-inch strips.

  • 2

    Trim and chop four scallions. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook scallions until soft, about 1 minute. Add nopales and a couple of pinches of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until nopales begin to wilt and release their liquid, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid has evaporated into a glaze, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Let cool to room temperature.

  • 3

    Grill or sauté sausages until cooked through and browned.

  • 4

    Thinly slice remaining two scallions. Squeeze lime over nopales and top with scallions, jalapeño, cilantro and queso fresco.