Nopales, No Problem
Season 7, Episode 10
NNP Chefs
Air date July 5, 2011
Winner Miguel Aguilar
Episode Guide
Thyme Flies
Easy Peasy?
Cooking with Cacti! The chefs must stay sharp as they carefully navigate a first basket that includes prickly nopales; and in talking about the texture of the food, the judges must consider the slime factor. Then in the entrée round, a colorful Chinese ingredient and a less popular pork product make for an intense challenge. Finally, in the last round when things suddenly go all wrong for one of the competitors, the judges watch breathlessly to see if the chocolate dessert can be salvaged.


  • Chris Rendell, Chef de cuisine, Double Crown, New York, NY
  • Denise Baron, Executive Chef, Burtons Grill, Boston, MA
  • Miguel Aguilar, Executive Chef, Piquant, New York, NY
  • Ronaldo Linares, Chef and Restaurateur, Martino's Cuban Restaurant, Somerville, NJ




Ingredients: Quahogs, Fuyu Persimmons, Italian Bitters, Nopales

Chris made Raw Quahog Salad with Grilled Nopales. The presentation is nice, and the grilling of the nopales brought out some great flavor. The nopales combined with the raw quahogs makes the dish feel very slimy.

Denise did Clams Casino with Nopales Salad. Denise drew out the most clam flavor from her quahogs, although the judges wish that she had managed to serve the casino mixture in the shell. The salad is nice.

Miguel made Quahog Ceviche with Italian Bitters. All of the judges, especially Marc, are very impressed with the depth and layers of flavor in the ceviche. However, the quahogs are cut too large.

Ronaldo's dish is Quahog de Cuba with Persimmon Compote. Ronaldo does the best job with the nopales, removing the sliminess and giving it some spice. However, his clams in the halfshell was the wrong method to treat the quahogs.

After deliberating, the judges chop Chef Chris for the sliminess of his appetizer.


Ingredients: Halibut, Purple Cauliflower, Salted Duck Egg Yolks, Pork Skin


Ingredients: Mexican Chocolate, Mostarda, Soft Tofu, Pretzel Rods


  • The chefs for the episode. From left to right: Ronaldo, Miguel, Denise, and Chris
  • Chris's Appetizer
  • Denise's Appetizer
  • Miguel's Appetizer
  • Ronaldo's Appetizer
  • Denise's Entrée
  • Miguel's Entrée
  • Ronaldo's Entrée
  • Miguel's Dessert
  • Denise's Dessert


Chopped Season 7
<< Season 6Season 8 >>
#01 The Icing on the Steak#06 Get it Together
#02 Canned Cheese, Please!#07 Bite Your Pickled Beef Tongue
#03 Saying Sayonara#08 Go For It!
#04 Have a Heart#09 Thyme Flies
#05 Gotta Grill!#10 Nopales, No Problem

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