In Bacoli, an ancient suburb of Naples, the Di Meo family tends vineyards amid the ruins of a Roman aqueduct. I paid the family a visit to learn more about their La Sibilla wines, but I also received a lesson in southern Italian cooking, picking chicories from a patch next to the kitchen and then boiling potatoes and mixing them with olive oil while still warm. This all would become the base of a tuna salad that has upped my standards on all tuna salads. That afternoon they opened one of their wines made with Falanghina Flegrea, a native grape believed to be one of the oldest varieties in the region. With high acidity and a little richness in texture, it held up to the potatoes and olive oil–poached tuna. Local wine with local food—sometimes it’s as simple as that. Beyond Italy, coastal Mediterranean whites and unoaked Chardonnay are also good options. Look for tasting notes that mention acidity and accents of lemon and honey; skip wines that are very floral or fruity.
2 pounds yellow potatoes (such as Yukon gold), cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
1 large juicy tomato, diced
1⁄4 cup black olives (preferably oil-cured), pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus
One 4- to 6-ounce can or jar oil-packed tuna
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups torn chicory leaves (such as escarole, Castelfranco radicchio, or treviso) or romaine leaves
In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water and add the 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, 18 to 20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and let sit until cool enough to handle but still warm. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and gently mix in the 3 tablespoons oil and ¾ teaspoon salt. (Mixing while the potatoes are still warm allows the starches to absorb more oil.) Let sit. When the potatoes are at room temperature, gently mix in the tomato, olives, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Put the tuna in a small bowl and mix with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice, and the pepper.
Put the chicories in a large serving bowl and mix with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Put the potatoes on the chicories and scatter the tuna on top and serve.
“Reprinted with permission from Wine Style: Discover the Wines You Will Love Through 50 Simple Recipes by Kate Leahy, copyright © 2021. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.” Photographs copyright © 2021 by Erin Scott
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