A different tuna


Illustration by SERENE LUSANO

Some foods make you wonder why people eat them. Stinging nettles come to mind, as does fugu. So, too, do spiky cactus pads (nopales) and their magenta fruit (tuna), with their needle-sharp spikes all over. Carefully slice them off to get to the edible portion. The succulent leaves feature a flavor reminiscent of green beans when cooked—but do it quickly to avoid sliminess. Make a stir-fry or salad for the freshest flavor. The fruit, also known as prickly pears, need straining to remove the hard seeds. Your reward is a melony pulp perfect for aguas frescas.