Pan Bagnat: Le French Tuna Salad Sandwiche
I still make pan bagnat every summer at the beach. We aren’t in Nice, but it sure tastes like it.
- 1/2 loaf crusty French baguette
- 1 clove garlic, cut in half
- 4 to 6 basil leaves
- 1 (6oz) can tuna
- 3/4 cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 jar or can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup blanched French green beans, sliced into thirds (optional)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- PREP THE BREAD: Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Remove some of the insides of the bottom half to create a trough into which the filling will go. Brush both halves with a little extra virgin olive oil. Rub each with the garlic. Line the half with the trough with the basil leaves.
- MIX THE SALAD: In a mixing bowl, combine the tuna, olives, red bell pepper, onion, parsley, artichoke hearts (if using) and green beans (if using). In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the lemon juice into the olive oil until it is emulsified/combined. Pour the vinaigrette into the tuna mixture and stir to combine. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
- ASSEMBLE: Spoon tuna mixture into the trough of the baguette over the basil leaves. Wrap sandwich well in plastic. Crush it down by placing a brick or heavy cast iron skillet and refrigerate, preferably with the weight, overnight.
- SERVE: In the morning, cut sandwich in half. Enjoy for lunch at home or wrap in foil and brown bag it (use a lunch box that will keep the sandwich chilled). Serve with cubes of feta cheese and a tart Granny Smith apple.