Tuna Nicoise Sandwich

This delightful variation on the traditional Niçoise is best made with your own canned (Mason jarred) tuna (see ‘pantry’). But if you don’t have your own stock of tuna, a really good quality Italian canned tuna packed in olive oil is a fine substitute. A perfect light brunch for a sunny day out at the islands – or anywhere else. And take a look at John’s wine pairing. It puts the final touch on that perfection…

What you need:

1 generous cup of Tuna Conserve (see pantry) or good-quality Italian canned tuna packed in
olive oil
4 teaspoons minced shallots
2 minced cornichons (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons minced capers
½ teaspoon minced tarragon
¼ cup mayonnaise
Salt & Pepper

4 slices hearty rustic bread like ciabatta

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoons Grey Poupon mustard
½ teaspoon lemon juice

1 small tomato, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
8 Nicoise olives
4 anchovies
Chives, chopped

What you do:

Mix the tuna (drained, but not rinsed) with the shallots, cornichons, capers and tarragon. Stir in the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper.

Lightly toast bread on both sides under the broiler.

Mix mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice together and spread on one side of each toast. Top with arugula and mound on the tuna salad. Top with sliced tomato, hard-boiled egg, Nicoise olives, anchovies and chives.

John’s Wine Pairing:
The Nicoise ingredients narrow the choice to four wines that I have enjoyed with tuna: a Beaujolais, a non-oaked chardonnay, a full bodied but light in citrus Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir Rose. After much arduous (!) experiment, I first shortened the list to the Chard and the Rose. Then, influenced by the anchovy, cornichons and capers, I rejected even those two choices and, in keeping with our preference for “local” wines, I pulled out a gorgeous salmon pink colored Laetitia Brut Rose 2006 sparkler from the Arroyo Grande Valley.

Laeitia is one of my favorite winemakers of Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. The wine shows some Pinot Noir substances with a floral overlay, berry flavors, unctuous mouthfeel and beautiful array of fine bubbles in the glass. I highly recommend it with many dishes but it really is perfect for this one.