Xero means “dry” as in Xerox Corp. who invented dry copying. In the 1950’s, prior to Xerox, copy machines used a liquid and special paper. Phile means fondness for or liking. So this soup involves a vegetable that “likes” a dry climate. This could have been titled Cactus soup or Sopa Nopalitos but … …that doesn’t start with an “X”. Okay, fine.
Everyone thinks of cactus as a prickly, off- putting vegetable; however cactus, known as Nopalitos in old
, is relatively mild with a slight tart quality. You can find nopalitos, sliced and recipe-ready, in cans or jars and fresh tomatillos at Mexican groceries or ethnic sections of large markets. Mexico
Xerophilic Soup or Cactus soup Serves 8
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and chopped
6 cups chicken broth or stock
1 large jar (2 pounds) sliced cactus
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons coriander leaves (cilantro)
2 ounces feta cheese
Put oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven and add onion
Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the tomatillos; cook about 5 minutes, just to soften
Add the broth and bring to boiling over high heat
Stir in cactus, lime juice and coriander and cook until hot
Sere with cheese and lime wedges.
Xerophilic soup, sopa nopalitos or cactus soup. By any name it is a delicious soup.