Prickly Pear Salsa, or Getting into a Prickly Situation!


Love the change of seasons.

It’s so good to see foods which suddenly appear on the greengrocers shelves (which mightn’t) have been there the week before, or even the day before. These fresh flavours call for Seafood, some Tuna Steaks perhaps? Time to get into a prickly situation, a Prickly Pear Salsa that is…

I’ve roasted the capsicum and tomatoes in my version, just to add a richer flavour to the sauce. Feel free to skip this step if you like and make it a raw salsa. Also as (I was) handling the prickly pears, I nominated to get most of the veggie prep out of the way, so as to avoid the needles getting into the remainder of the dish. Totally your choice!

Time: 35-40 mins

Tuna Steaks
Prickly pear (I used three)
4 Roma tomatoes
Red capsicum
Yellow capsicum
1/2 bunch Coriander
1/2 red onion
Zest & juice of 1 lime
Chillies to taste, I used two long (mild) and 3 small (hot)
Salt & pepper
Olive Oil

2 x Pans, baking tray & baking paper. Tongs, med fine mesh strainer & large bowl for the salsa. It might also be necessary to keep a separate chopping board for the handling of the prickly pear.

As for the side, feel free to add rice or beans etc, whatever takes your fancy. I e roasted some asparagus in a preheated oven at 180C (350F)



Chop the capsicums, chillies and tomatoes in half, place on an oiled pan. Season with salt & pepper at this stage

Chop the woody tips off the asparagus ends, season and drizzle with olive oil and lay on a baking sheet/tray.

Place both tray & pan in the oven. Leave for 15-20 mins to roast and char.

Whilst the veg are in the oven, zest the lime and chop the onion into a fine dice, set aside in large bowl for the salsa.

Chop the coriander and add into the bowl along with the lime juice,

The capsicum should be coming along nicely at this stage, rest on a board.

Peel the skins back from the charred capsicum/tomatoes and scoop the flesh out. Deseed the chillies if you like, I’ve kept mine in.

Combine the roasted veg in the bowl with the lime zest, coriander and lime juice. Set aside.

Using tongs, place the prickly pears on a clean chopping board. You mustn’t touch as the fine microscopic hairs/needles can be a major irritant to the skin.

Slice the ends off both sides of the pear, remove and set aside.

I do a vertical incision along the top and slowly roll the fruit out of the skin. Hopefully it peels away in one piece after this.

Set aside and repeat with remaining pears,

Quarter the flesh like so. I scooped out the seeds and placed them in a bowl temporarily,

Take the firmer flesh and chop roughly, add to the salsa mix.

All the seeds and inside pulp you kept in the bowl can now be pushed through the sieve. Add the extra juice to the salsa to sweeten the mixture, (chuck the seeds of course.) Stir salsa gently and set aside.

Get the Tuna steak into a sizzling hot pan with seasonings and oil, sear quickly on both sides, being careful to flip and rest so as to keep some pink inside, med rare is ideal.

After 5-10 mins, plate up and serve with sides, asparagus as pictured here and salsa on the Tuna steak and side.


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  1. says

    My mom used to make prickly pear jelly. She’d put on heavy gloves to harvest them and burn them over a gas stove flame to get rid of the thorns. I loved prickly pear jelly because of the beautiful magenta color and the delicate floral flavor. We had 4 huge fig trees in our yard, so fig preserves were the norm. Prickly pear jelly was a big treat.

    • says

      I love that the prickly pears hold a special place in your memories! Actually figs are a special favourite for me so I’m quite sure I’d loooove your fig jam :) either way it’s so great to experience something different so more adventures to come yet for my palate, lol

    • says

      It’s texture is similar to pear but it’s sweet like a watermelon. It also has a really vibrant juice-it was a deep orange almost similar to s turmeric stain (when I splashed it on the bench-whoops!) they’re not tart (at least these weren’t)

      It was the first time I’d eaten them too, the seeds are hard though, blech!

    • says

      Hi Robin, I didn’t know they were featured in that film? Actually it’s my first time eating/cooking with these too. I often make a mango salsa with my tuna/fish but as we’re in autumn, no mangoes.

      Prickly pears however…let’s just say they’re not the easiest fruit to handle but the flesh is super sweet and juicy. Like a really ripe watermelon with bright orange juice.

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