Virgin Islands Cooking
Carol M. Bareuther
by Carol M. Bareuther
Virgin Islanders discovered that the tender
pads of the prickly pear cactus, when de-throned, formed soft yet crunchy
chunks that resembled the texture and flavor of okra in soup.
approximately 18, 1-cup servings
Nutrition: 186 calories,
7 grams fat, 77 milligrams cholesterol and 554 milligrams sodium per
serving (with 1 teaspoon pond salt for recipe).
- 1½ pounds oxtail
- Sea salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3 cans chicken broth
- 3 leaves bay rum bush
- 1½ cups cactus, chopped (use
- 1 parrot fish or yellowtail, poached
- Dash local hot pepper sauce
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 1 tin broken shrimp
- 1 12-ounce can V-8 juice
Trim fat off oxtails. Salt the tails with pond salt, roll in flour and
brown all sides in oil. This takes about 20 minutes. Use a large heavy fry
Add chicken broth, plus 3 cans of water and bay rum leaves to the browned
oxtails. Simmer or cook over low heat.
Add smooth, chopped cactus. Select tender young pads without woody fibers.
It is necessary to simmer the cactus and oxtail in broth, covered, over
low heat for 2 hours, until the meat will fall off the bones of the
oxtails. During this long, slow cooking, drain off one cup of broth and
poach or steam a parrotfish or yellowtail in the broth, plus a few drops
of local hot pepper sauce. After 15 minutes, remove the fish and separate
the fish from the bones. Add the fish and chopped onions to the big frying
pan. Drain, rinse and add one tin of small broken shrimp.
After the cactus soup has simmered for 2 hours, add V-8 juice.
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