Iowa’s got its corn; Idaho has its potatoes; and here in Arizona, we’ve got tuna galore to harvest his month!
No, nothing’s fishy … we’ve been busy picking the sweet fuchsia fruits from the prickly pear cactus, called tunas, to add to our late summer bounty.
The history of this colorful and versatile fruit goes back to the earliest prehistoric inhabitants of our desert – both the human and four-legged varieties. Their August and September season brings a favorite treat for us, as well as javelina, deer, chipmunks, coyotes, kit foxes and pack rats, too.
At Tonto Bar and Grill and Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House, prickly pears are one of several locally grown bounties that we sustainably harvest and use in our seasonal menus. This month, we will be extracting the prickly pear syrup and will make a sweet sauce and vinaigrette that’s a treat for the eyes and the taste buds, and is decidedly unique to the desert Southwest.
Among our specials will be a local wild arugula salad with baby candy-striped beets, strawberries, fossil creek goat cheese, spiced AZ pecans, and hand-picked prickly pear vinaigrette. You’ll also love our mesquite wood diver scallops with charred summer corn and preserved lemon risotto, shaved fennel and AZ citrus salad with local harvested prickly pear buerre blanc and basil oil.
On our dessert menu, we’ll be adding our house-made prickly pear swirl ice cream and Evening Specials including a fresh Arizona citrus tart with prickly pear coulis. Even our house-made ancho chili milk chocolate candies are made with reduced prickly pear syrup.
Tuna never tasted so sweet … and summer never tasted so good!