The perfectly wilted curly-leaf spinach in our salad still retains some of its bite.
Warm Spinach Salad with Feta and Pistachios
SERVES 6 FAST VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Spinach is a centuries-old staple in Italian cuisine, beloved for its culinary versatility and supercharged nutritional benefits. Served wilted in a salad, spinach takes on a milder flavor, perfect for pairing with bold mix-ins—so long as the leaves aren’t reduced to mush. We experimented with various types of spinach and found that flat-leaf and baby spinach became overly soft, but hardier curly-leaf spinach could withstand the heat. To make the dressing, we began by heating 3 tablespoons of fruity extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven along with some minced shallot. For a burst of bright citrus, we also simmered a strip of lemon zest in the oil, then we added fresh lemon juice before tossing in the spinach off the heat. The residual heat in the pot steamed the spinach until it was warm and just wilted. Peppery sliced radishes, crumbled feta, and toasted pistachios rounded out our salad. Be sure to cook the spinach just until it begins to wilt; any longer and the leaves will overcook and clump. Be sure to use curly-leaf spinach here; do not substitute flat-leaf or baby spinach.
1½ ounces feta cheese, crumbled (⅓ cup)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (2-inch) strip lemon zest plus 1½ tablespoons juice
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
10 ounces curly-leaf spinach, stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces
6 radishes, trimmed and sliced thin
3 tablespoons chopped toasted pistachios
Salt and pepper
1. Place feta on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 15 minutes.
2. Cook oil, lemon zest, shallot, and sugar in Dutch oven over medium-low heat until shallot is softened, about 5 minutes. Off heat, discard zest and stir in lemon juice. Add spinach, cover, and let steam off heat until it just begins to wilt, about 30 seconds.
3. Transfer spinach mixture and liquid left in pot to large bowl. Add radishes, pistachios, and chilled feta and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Seared Tuna Salad with Olive Dressing
SERVES 4 to 6 FAST
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Fresh, quick-cooking tuna steaks are a perfect base for a hearty salad. To make sure we didn’t overcook the fish, we patted it dry before searing it in a very hot pan. Slicing it right away ensured that it didn’t overcook as it rested. A potent vinaigrette made with chopped green olives, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice stood up to the meaty flavor of the tuna. Cherry tomatoes provided pops of freshness, and cannellini beans added an appealing texture. Peppery arugula provided a perfect vehicle for the rest of our flavorful ingredients. Tuna steaks can be pricey. To get your money’s worth, only purchase tuna steaks that are deep purplish red, firm to the touch, and devoid of any “fishy” odor.
½ cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 (12-ounce) tuna steaks, 1 to 1¼ inches thick
5 ounces (5 cups) baby arugula
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed
1. Whisk olives, lemon juice, parsley, and garlic together in large bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 5 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Pat tuna dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook tuna until well browned and translucent red at center when checked with tip of paring knife and registers 110 degrees (for rare), about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and slice into ½-inch-thick slices.
3. Whisk dressing to re-emulsify, then drizzle 1 tablespoon dressing over tuna. Add arugula, tomatoes, and beans to bowl with remaining dressing and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide salad among plates and top with tuna. Serve.