Place the cactus paddles on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, carefully scrape and slice off the thorns and dark brown bumps on all sides.
Rinse the cactus paddles under running water to remove any dirt and grime.
Dice the cactus paddles into bite-size pieces or slice them into thin strips.
Place in a medium pot with salt, and fill with water until all the cactus paddles are covered.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid, and cook for 10 more minutes.
Drain the water from the nopales and give them another rinse under warm water to remove any excess slimy liquid.
Eat plain or saute in a little olive oil with your favorite seasonings. (See post above for more ways to use cooked nopales.)
If you've never worked with cactus paddles before, be careful because each pad has little tiny spines and thorns that will easily prick your fingers. I recommend using gloves the first time. Once you get the hang of it, you can try to handle them without gloves.Cooked nopales can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.