Desert-to-Table Cooking at Tonto Bar & Grill Features Seasonal Prickly Pears
Peters uses prickly pear to make demi-glace for chicken and pork or gastrique for fish.
Jerri Parness Photography
Because the size and quality of the prickly pear harvest (as well as all the other desert plants harvested) varies year to year, he doesn't put these items on a set menu but rather comes up with preparations "on the fly."
Below is a seasonal salad Peters makes: Mesquite-grilled salmon, glazed with prickly pear barbecue sauce, set on a bed of arugula with black beans, roasted corn, jicama, red peppers, red onion and corn chips, drizzled with prickly pear vinaigrette.
A split prickly pear makes a pretty garnish.
Meanwhile, Amanda Crick incorporates prickly pear into many of her desserts, one of them being playful Prickly Pear Pops, which she serves on a mesquite log. The Red Velvet cake inside is tinted red from prickly pear instead of food dye, while prickly pear also tints the white ganache coating on the outside a pretty pink.
Jerri Parness Photography Prickly pear-glazed salmon salad
You'll have to have a birthday or anniversary to snag Crick's complimentary Mexican chocolates, which are not available on the menu. Tucked into a little gold take-home box, they come with two different fillings: cajeta (goat's milk caramel) or prickly pear, the latter oozing out like a chocolate-covered cherry -- only better because it's faintly tart, not cloyingly sweet.