Noprese Salad, a New Age Italian plate to make dinner guests happy!

–  Nopale (cactus) cut 1” rounds using a ring mold cutter 

–  salt, 1 cup

–  Cherry Tomatoes, 6 each cut in half mix colors

–  Burrata 1-4 oz Ball

–  Gooseberry Vinaigrette (directions below)

–  Crispy Tajin Sorghum 

–  Basil Oil 

–  Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), 1 cup

–  Balsamic reduction 

–  Basil Leaves, 7 small leaves to garnish 


  1. First, cure the nopales to remove the slime. Cut them using a ring mold. Next, put them in a bowl with 1 cup of salt covering nopales. Put a 30-minute timer and set aside. 
  2. Once the timer goes off, use a strainer to remove the nopales and rinse under cold water to remove all excess salt. They will be nice and pliable.
  3. To make your vinaigrette, you will need to clean 1 ½ pint of Gooseberries. Put them in a blender with 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of lime juice, 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar. Begin to blend before adding 1 cup of EVVO (set aside).
  4. Crispy sorghum is like mini popcorn. Use a deep pot with a lid, put a little oil at the bottom, put enough sorghum to cover the bottom of the pot but not overlapping. Put on the lid and turn on the heat. 
  5. You will begin to hear it pop. Turn off immediately so they don’t burn. Pour into a bowl, sprinkle tajin over to stick.
  6. Basil Oil: pick two bunches of basil, blanch in hot water and quickly remove. Put in ice water to stop cooking, drain basil very well so no water remains. Put in blender with 1 cup of evoo and blend until all incorporated.
  7. To plate, put Burrata Ball in the center, then in small mixing bowl dress the tomato and nopale in gooseberry vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Place in clockwise order from top of Burrata Ball all around it nopale then tomato, nopale then tomato until a full circle. 
  9. Put balsamic reduction and basil oil around the circle of nopale and tomato, sprinkle crispy sorghum in center of cheese. Don’t be afraid to put the crispy sorghum. This will add crunch and lots of flavor to our Noprese, a Mexican take on Caprese. 
  10. Finish by adding fresh basil leaves to garnish the salad.

ABOUT THE CHEF: Chef Danielle Duran Zecca is a California-born culinary master, graduating with honors from California’s Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts where she focused on classic French cuisine.  While cooking in New York, Chef Danielle won first place in the Food Network’s cooking show, “Kitchen Casino.” Her style of cooking is “New Age Italian” which subtly combines the Mexican food influences of her heritage, with a dash of that unique California approach to food. Her style was influenced by a three-month trip to Italy where she fell in love with the simplicity of letting amazing fresh ingredients showcase themselves, an approach she has been using ever since. While in Italy, she also had the great pleasure of working with some amazing Italian chefs, one including her mother-in-law who owns a well-known restaurant in Verona. Chef Danielle, owner of “Eat Your Heart Out” catering, combines her appreciation for organic and sustainable ingredients. Her “New Age Italian” reflects exceptional quality ingredients, many made from scratch, with Italian and Mexican influences. 



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