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Hold the Mayo Tuna Salad with Wine for Dinner

Do you have canned tuna in your pantry? On a warm summer’s night it can become an easy yet elegant dinner as part of a composed salad. Simply start with this basic recipe for a no mayo tuna salad. Then serve it alongside a platter of beautifully arranged seasonal produce (read on for suggestions). Oh, and don’t forget the wine!

Tuna salad conjures up a lot of different images. To be clear, this is not the mayo laden version of my American childhood. Truthfully, that one was actually loaded with Miracle Whip then sandwiched between two squishy slices of white bread. It wasn’t a personal favorite. Years later when I encountered my first south of France version of tuna salade niçoise, it was a game changer. Now, some interpretation of that salad is regularly on our dinner table throughout the summer.

Since our neighborhood farmers market was cancelled this year, I’ve arranged for a weekly delivery of fresh produce. As the contents of the box changes, so does the salad. Use whatever sounds good to you!

No Mayo Tuna Salad Recipe

Serves 2

Dressing:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon herbs, chopped – dill or parsley are great additions
1 tablespoon capers (optional)

Combine all ingredients. Use some to dress the tuna, and some to dress the potatoes and/or green beans.

1 can tuna (I buy tuna packed in olive oil)

Optional:
2-3 green onions or 1 spring onion
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 apple, chopped (I know, it’s not traditional!)

I usually drain some of the oil out of the tuna and add a splash of fresh EVOO to liven it up; however, that is totally optional. If you’re using tuna packed in water, drain it before combining with the dressing. A dollop of yogurt may be added if it needs some more moisture.

Potatoes (red, fingerling, or Yukon gold work well) cooked and thinly sliced

Green beans (I cheat and microwave them for 1-2 minutes or you can boil them for a minute)
2 Hard boiled eggs, removed from shells and sliced or quartered
Tomatoes, sliced or quartered
Olives (Nicoise olives are of course the traditional choice, but it’s okay to use what you have)
Avocado, sliced
Cucumber, sliced

Chill down the potatoes and green beans if using.

Arrange selected items on a platter or in a bowl or two and serve. Voila!

Wine Pairing for No Mayo Tuna Salad

In the southern France city of Nice, where the classic Nicoise salad originates, a chilled bottle of rosé is the natural pairing. Chardonnay, as long as it’s not big and oaky, gets along with the mustard vinaigrette. Alternatively, we are inclined to open a white Rhône variety such as Marsanne or Grenache Blanc. Of course, you can never go wrong with bubbles! Below are some of my preferred pours.

Domaine Tempier Rosé

This pale pink wine is the benchmark from the Bandol region in south eastern France, and is composed primarily of Mourvèdre with Grenache and Cinsault.

Devison Vintners Rosé

Our house wine for the summer comes from this Walla Walla, Washington based family winery. In the glass, this liquid sunshine is the most beautiful pale rose gold shade of pink. A blend of 75% Mourvèdre and 25% Grenache all sourced from acclaimed Boushey Vineyard, it is 100% refreshing deliciousness.

Tablas Creek Vineyard Dianthus

Since the weather here in Seattle takes a while to warm up in summer, sometimes a rosé with a bit more heft is called for. In that case, we pour a Tavel style magenta colored wine from California’s Tablas Creek. During the winemaking process, a bit more skin contact results in a magnificent magenta hue. It’s cheery, juicy, and easy drinking. Plus, we’re wine club members which gives us a discount on the wine!

College Cellars Marsanne

Since I tend to add apple to the tuna (I like a little sweet and savory contrast – plus it gets the hubby to eat more produce!), this white variety is also a pleasing pairing. Learn more about the wines of College Cellars in my post highlighting eight Washington wines worth staying home for.

Eight Washington Wines Worth Staying Home For and What to Pair with Them

eight-washington-wines-to-pair

Although winery tasting rooms were forced to close in March, maintaining a steady supply of wine hasn’t been a problem in our house! In order to stay afloat during these wildly challenging times, wineries have provided consumers all kinds of offers. A library vertical – yes, please! A mystery library pack – sign me up! Shipping included – okay! In other words, I’ve discovered some terrific deals. Revealed here are eight Washington Wines worth staying home for and what to pair with them. August is Washington Wine Month so don’t let it pass you by without trying some of these soul satisfying wines priced from just $17-36. Continue reading “Eight Washington Wines Worth Staying Home For and What to Pair with Them”

Let’s Talk About Putting Ice in Wine

Is it okay to put ice in wine? I recently asked the question on Instagram. Oh boy, is it a divisive topic! So let’s talk about putting ice in wine. Read on for some of the responses in addition to some great suggestions for keeping wine chilled on hot summer days.

My question:

“Dare I ask, would you rather put ice in your wine in or drink it too warm? It’s a tough call. Who wants watered down wine, right? Then again, I’m reminded of the refreshing afternoon weinschorles of Germany. It’s a mix of wine and a carbonated beverage, typically sparkling mineral water. It’s one way to cool down on a warm day without overindulging.”

Additionally, I took a poll on Instagram stories simply asking, “Is it okay to put ice in wine?” The results are nearly evenly split, with 48% replying, “Sure!” Nevertheless, the “No way!” vote won by 52%.

The thing is, when wine – red or white – is served at the wrong temperature, it just doesn’t taste the way it’s meant to. Not only are subtle nuances lost, the alcohol is enhanced. Not to mention, if it’s a scorching summer’s day, warm wine isn’t going to be the least bit refreshing. Take that bottle on the patio or deck, and the temperature of its contents isn’t going to stay at serving temperature on its own.

Nevertheless, comments on my post indicate that people tend to have very strong opinions about putting ice in wine – unless it’s in the form of Sangria. They also have some suggested alternatives.

Six Ways to Keep Wine Chilled

Water Bath

This suggested technique is one I use when the wine hasn’t been chilled at all. Simply fill an ice bucket almost to the top with a combination of ice, water, and salt. Immerse a bottle of wine, and in about 10 minutes it will be chilled. If you don’t have an ice bucket, use whatever you have. Depending on the number of bottles you need to chill, anything from a large mixing bowl to the kitchen sink can work! These days, it’s all about using what you have on hand, right?

Ice Bucket

After the wine is chilled, whether it’s done via the aforementioned water bath or in the fridge, maintain the desired temperature by keeping the bottle(s) on ice.

Whiskey Stones/Stainless Steel Ice Cubes

While some people suggested whiskey stones or stainless steel ice cubes for keeping wine cool without diluting it, someone commented that it makes the wine taste funny.

Frozen Grapes

This seems like another great idea for sangria!

Ice Pack

Wrap a soft ice pack around a bottle.

Ice Cubes

Of course, let’s not forget this solution. Haters gonna hate, but is a hot glass of wine really better?

What are your thoughts on the great ice debate? It’s not too late to head on over to Instagram and talk about putting ice in wine. #LetsTalkAboutWine

Or maybe you’d rather peruse some recipes to pair with your summer wine! Try my easy tomato salad on herbed yogurt, or chilled cherry soup.

Nachos and Sparkling Wine Pairing

Although winery tasting rooms have started to open again, the coronavirus has not backed down. As a result, closures are imminent at the end of July for those that do not have outdoor seating. So, for us, that means replenishing our wine supplies to enjoy with a pantry dinner on the patio. Our latest guilty pleasure is pairing nachos with sparkling wine for dinner.

How do you feel about nachos for dinner? I say nachos are the new pasta – the covid comfort food of the season if you will. Although to make myself feel less guilty about serving them I said, “Honey, I made sheet pan tacos for dinner!” Then I opened some bubbles. Because it was Monday.

Sure, beer aka cerveza is a classic pairing with Mexican inspired food. Why? It has bubbles. In other words, it’s a refreshing counterpoint to the spice in the food. Just like sparkling wine!

Pin this!

Wine Pairing for Nachos

Continue reading “Nachos and Sparkling Wine Pairing”

Easy Tomato Salad on Herbed Yogurt

It wouldn’t be summer without a dinner featuring heirloom tomato salad on a bed of creamy yogurt. Of course, it is best served while dining outside along with a bottle of wine! Read more for this quick and easy recipe and wine pairing.

The cookbook, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi as well as his many books that followed have provided much inspiration in my kitchen. Often, yogurt plays a role in the recipes. Here that ingredient shows up as a creamy, flavorful bed upon which the season’s tomatoes rest.

Tomato Salad on a Bed of Creamy Yogurt

Serves 1-2

Start with the yogurt mixture and combine:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt – I favor whole milk cream top style
  • 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Toss together:

  • 1-2 tomatoes, sliced or quartered
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • A pinch of salt

Spread the yogurt mixture on a plate or shallow bowl. Top with the tomatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Served with bread alongside, it feeds two of us as a light meal. Or, it can make a satisfying lunch for one.

Variations

If, like me, you’re still trying to minimize trips to the grocery store and rely on what’s in the pantry, feel free to make substitutions. Use whatever yogurt you stock in the fridge. No mint or dill? That’s okay, parsley works fine, too. Or add some ground cumin. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, use lemon juice. Want a more substantial salad? Add chickpeas and diced cucumber. You get the idea!

Wine Pairing

There are a number of wine options that pair well with such patio fare. Generally, I turn to juicy white wines that have a savory characteristic to complement this dish. For that reason, Grenache Blanc and Grüner Veltliner are at the top of my list. Additionally, Picpoul is a lip smacking favorite. Or, if you want to stick with something a little more classic, seek out Sauvignon Blanc.

Below are some of my favorite Washington State producers of these exciting varieties. All of them are small, boutique operations where family plays a role. Plus, they’re making fantastic, lively, food friendly wines. Shipping specials are also regularly offered these days (ground shipping was included with my recent order from Cairdeas AND the wine arrived the next day), so check out what’s available!

Cairdeas Winery

Callan Cellars

Devison Vintners

Syncline Wine Cellars

W.T. Vintners

Are you hungry for more salad and wine pairings? Try my Lentil Salad Recipe.

Lentil Salad Recipe and Wine Pairing