A specialty of Nice, France, this sandwich was devised as a clever use for stale bread. Pan Bagnat means “bathed bread” and indeed the bread absorbs the olive oil, vinegar and tomato and anchovy juices nicely, creating an innovative, edible treat. If you want to substitute a ciabatta for the baguette, do so. With a ciabatta, there is no need to remove the interior crumb.
The bone-dry crispness of a Tavel Rosé is a perfect accompaniment to the tuna, onion and vinegar in this dish; recommended producers include Château d”Aqueria; Les Vignerons de Tavel and Brotte.
2 cans (6 ounces each) oil-packed tuna, drained
2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and chopped
2/3 cup diced tomato or quartered grape tomatoes
2/3 cup diced peeled cucumber
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette (24 inches), split lengthwise, or 1 ciabatta of equivalent size (no need to remove inside of bread.
1/2 cup prepared or homemade tapenade (see recipe below)
Mixed salad greens
In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, eggs, tomato, cucumber, onion, olive oil, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Hollow out the cut sides of the baguette by removing some of the bread with your fingers; discard. Spread the tapenade on the cut sides. Spoon the tuna mixture onto the bottom half, pressing to make it adhere. Top with the salad greens. Place the other half of the baguette on top. Wrap securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To pack as for a picnic: Finish the sandwich as directed above, cut it into four to six pieces; reassemble the filled loaf and wrap securely, first in plastic wrap and then in foil. Place in an ice chest, protected from direct contact with melting ice.
To serve, about one hour before eating, remove from the sandwich from the refrigerator (or cooler) to stand at room temperature. Unwrap just before eating.
To make tapenade: In a food processor, combine 1 cup pitted kalamata or niçoise olives, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 anchovy fillets, 1 teaspoon drained capers, and 1 small garlic clove. Process until smooth. (Refrigerate unused tapenade in a covered container; it will keep for several weeks.) Makes 3/4 cup.