Pan Bagnat, A French Tuna Sandwich

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Pan Bagnat

A classic Nicoise street food, Pan Bagnat is essentially a Nicoice Salad between bread. It’s a great party dish as it must be made ahead to soak in the olive oil and meld the flavors together. Of course you can design your own version!

  • Good olive oil, Garlic Anchovy Vinaigrette, or Tapenade

  • An 8-inch round pain de campagne or round country loaf or long ciabatta bread

  • 2 Kirby cucumbers, sliced thin

  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and sliced into halves

  • 2 medium-size, ripe tomatoes, if it’s summer, thinly sliced

  • 1 small bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced crosswise

  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 or 2 jars (5 to 6 oz.) tuna packed in olive oil

  • 8 + large basil leaves

  • Anchovies, drained

  • Sliced dry cured or other pitted olives, halved and to taste or Tapenade

  • 2 -3 hard-cooked egg, peeled and thinly sliced

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Sprinkle the tomato slices and fennel liberally with salt and transfer to a colander; set aside to drain for 30 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, break up tuna with a fork.

  3. Slice the ciabatta down the center to create a top and bottom. Or, ff using a pain de campagne or round country loaf, slice through the upper 1/4th of the bread to create a “lid”. Scoop out the inside dough leaving a ½-inch wall. Reserve middle for croutons or breadcrumbs.

  4. Drizzle the bread heavily with olive oil if using or drizzle with anchovy dressing or spread liberally with tapenade.

  5. Place half of the tomatoes evenly over bottom of bread and then top with half of the fennel and cucumbers, tuna, egg slices, anchovies, and olives. Repeat the layers. Pour more olive oil, dressing, or tapenade evenly over ingredients. Cover with top of bread, pressing lightly to compact the layers.

  6. Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. Place on a baking sheet; top with another baking sheet and weight with a heavy object like a cast-iron skillet or a brick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Slice into wedges or slices to serve.

To serve, simply unwrap the sandwich and place on a large cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice pie wedge servings.

Serve with Rosé!