These were first served to us at the nopal fair in Tlaxcalancingo, Puebla. I have since had them in restaurants in Mexico City. They are aptly named for the flat soles of the country people’s sandals that they resemble.
- 6 large nopal cactus paddles, cleaned
- 1/4 medium white onion
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and halved
- salt to taste
- 6 slices manchego, jack or gouda cheese
- 1/4-1/2 cup flour
- 3 eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup corn oil
Place the whole cactus paddles, onion and garlic in a large pot with water to cover and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until the nopales are tender but still firm. Drain and rinse.
Starting at the wide, curved end, carefully slice each paddle horizontally, as if butterflying a chop for stuffing. Do not cut all the way through to the narrow end (the thicker part where the pad is attached to the main plant) but leave approximately 1 1/2″ uncut. Place a slice of cheese between the two sections and press flat.
Dredge the paddles in flour. Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks, and fold in the lightly beaten egg yolks.
Heat the oil in a large skillet until a few drops of water sprinkled into it bounce around. Dip the stuffed nopales in the egg batter to coat and fry in the hot oil until golden brown on each side. Serve immediately with red salsa.