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Pan Bagnat (Niçoise Sandwich)

Hello and welcome! Today we have the glorious Pan Bagnat, a sandwich originating from Nice, in the south of France. Pan Bagnat roughly translates to “wet bread”, and is basically a tuna niçoise salad in sandwich form. This is the ultimate make ahead sandwich, perfect for picnics, because the longer it sits, the better it gets. Let’s get right to it!

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Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F, for toasting the baguette. Then, thinly slice 1 large tomato and lay the slices on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the tomato juices.

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Next, combine the thinly sliced red onion with the minced garlic, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and kosher salt in a medium bowl, toss to combine and set aside. Slice the baguette in half lengthwise. Remove the inner crumb from the bottom half of the baguette, leaving a 1/2-inch border of the bread intact. Toast the baguette on the center rack in the oven, cut sides up, in the oven for about 5 minutes, until only lightly toasted.

Olive and Herb Relish

Now for the olive and herb relish. Combine olives, capers, parsley, anchovy filets and fresh oregano (or marjoram) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until the mixture is coarsely and evenly chopped.

Add the olive and herb relish to the bowl with the onion and red wine vinegar. Give it a good stir and add 1/4 cup of olive oil.

Stir in the olive oil and add the 2 tablespoons of dijon. Mix well to fully combine.

Set this aside and we can start to build the Pan Bagnat. Drain the oil-packed tuna (save the oil from the tuna to use in another dish). Slice the hard cooked eggs into thin slices. Brush the inside of each toasted baguette half with a tablespoon of olive oil.

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Use 2/3 of the olive herb relish/onion mix to evenly cover the bottom half of the baguette. Then place the tuna evenly on top of the olive herb relish/onion mix. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the tuna.

Shingle the tomato slices on top of the tuna. Then shingle the egg slices on top of the tomato.

Use the remaining olive herb relish/onion mix to cover the eggs.

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Place the top half of the baguette on top.

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Wrapping the Pan Bagnat

Clear your work surface and stretch a large piece of plastic wrap, flat on the surface. Carefully slice the sandwich in half crosswise. We will wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap.

Start with folding the bottom and top of the plastic wrap over the sandwich, then bring the sides up and over, tightly.

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Place the halves side by side and place a sheet pan on top of the sandwich halves. Then place a Dutch oven or other very heavy pan on top of the sheet pan, positioned on top of the sandwich halves.

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Let the sandwiches flatten for 30 minutes to one hour. Then refrigerate the halves if you’re planning to enjoy the sandwiches later. If you will eat them right away, unwrap the sandwiches and place them on a paper towel to absorb excess liquid for a few minutes.

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Slice each half in half again, if desired and serve!

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This sandwich is so full of flavor! The olive herb relish and dressed onions are truly delicious. The baguette soaks up the juices just enough to soften and moisten, but isn’t soggy. Definitely use oil-packed tuna for this Pan Bagnat, it’s moist and supple, whereas water-packed tuna can be too dry.

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I do hope you try this Pan Bagnat, it’s a great summertime lunch or dinner! For a less make-ahead friendly version of this sandwich, try my Niçoise Toasts. Take care and be well, xo Kelly

Key Kitchen Equipment

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Pan Bagnat (Niçoise Sandwich)

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Dinner, Main Course, Lunch French
By America's Test Kitchen Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 30 Minutes (plus 30 minute-1 hour pressing time) Cooking Time: NA Total Time: ~1 Hour

Full of flavor, with great textures, this Pan Bagnat is a perfect make-ahead picnic sandwich, because the longer it sits, the better it gets!

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Tomato, cored and sliced thin
  • 1 Small Red Onion, sliced thin
  • 3 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 Large Baguette, sliced horizontally
  • 3/4 cup Niçoise Olives, pitted (or Kalamata Olives)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Parsley Leaves and Tender Stems
  • 3 tbsp. Capers, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Marjoram or Oregano Leaves
  • 3 Anchovy Fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 (6½ ounce) Jars Olive Oil-packed Tuna, drained
  • 3 Hard-Cooked eggs, sliced thin

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2

Lay the tomato slices on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the tomato juices.

3

In a medium sized bowl, combine the thinly sliced red onion with the minced garlic, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and kosher salt, toss to combine and set aside.

4

Slice the baguette in half lengthwise. Remove the inner crumb from the bottom half of the baguette, leaving a 1/2-inch border of the bread intact.

5

Toast the baguette on the center rack in the oven, cut sides up, in the oven for about 5 minutes, until only lightly toasted.

6

Combine olives, capers, parsley, anchovy filets and fresh oregano (or marjoram) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until the mixture is coarsely and evenly chopped.

7

Add the olive and herb relish to the bowl with the onion and red wine vinegar.

8

Give it a good stir and add 1/4 cup of olive oil.

9

Stir in the olive oil and add the 2 tablespoons of dijon. Mix well to fully combine and set aside.

10

Drain the oil-packed tuna (save the oil from the tuna to use in another dish). Slice the hard cooked eggs into thin slices.

11

Brush the inside of each toasted baguette half with a tablespoon of olive oil.

12

Use 2/3 of the olive herb relish/onion mix to evenly cover the bottom half of the baguette.

13

Then place the tuna evenly on top of the olive herb relish/onion mix. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the tuna.

14

Shingle the tomato slices on top of the tuna. Then shingle the egg slices on top of the tomato.

15

Use the remaining olive herb relish/onion mix to cover the eggs.

16

Place the top half of the baguette on top.

17

Clear your work surface and stretch a large piece of plastic wrap, flat on the surface. Carefully slice the sandwich in half crosswise. We will wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap.

18

Place the halves side by side and place a sheet pan on top of the sandwich halves. Then place a Dutch oven or other very heavy pan on top of the sheet pan, positioned on top of the sandwich halves.

19

Let the sandwiches flatten for 30 minutes to one hour. Refrigerate the halves if you're planning to enjoy the sandwiches later. If you will eat them right away, unwrap the sandwiches and place them on a paper towel to absorb excess liquid for a few minutes.

20

Slice each half in half again, if desired and serve!

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  • Maris#.
    May 16, 2022 at 9:39 am

    As our friends in Boston would say, this looks wicked good! I am an unabashed tuna fanatic, and I love it in its many forms. I grew up on tuna sandwiches, but we never had anything that looked as amazing as this. Sadly, I don’t think I ever heard of it until today, but better late than never. What an interesting idea. A pressed sandwich that isn’t hot and crispy sounds just right on a day that is supposed to get to 85 degrees. They are still predicting a possible tornado, so we will have to see what happens. Family lore has it that at the tender age of three I heard a weather report on the radio, and ran screaming through the house, that a tomato was coming. The only tomato I want to see today will be on this sandwich. Anything that has tuna, tomato, hard boiled eggs and a fine supporting cast is worth looking into. Happy Monday mischief and loads of lovely sunshine to Kelly, Alex, Terry, Beth and the pups. Thank you for another new recipe I can’t wait to get started on. 😊💨🌧☔️💨.

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 16, 2022 at 11:39 am

      What a cute story, Mari! A tomato is coming! I think you will love this sandwich, let me know what you think! Have a great Monday and stay safe in case of any tomato sightings! xo Kelly

  • Mari
    May 16, 2022 at 9:47 am

    You would think after years of birds, that I would know better than to leave an iPad face up where the birds could get at it, and further that I would check everything before hitting send. I suppose I’m lucky that the only thing Dana did was add a few things to my name.

  • Carroll
    May 16, 2022 at 10:36 am

    looks fabulous!

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 16, 2022 at 11:40 am

      It’s such a wonderful sandwich, Carroll! I am sure you will enjoy it. xo Kelly

  • Anne S
    May 16, 2022 at 10:38 am

    Looks delicious! Can’t wait to give this one a try.

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 16, 2022 at 11:41 am

      It’s a keeper for sure, Anna! Let me know how you like it! Have a great day, xo Kelly

  • Sally Burke
    May 16, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Kelly, initially my thoughts after reading your description, went straight to a very soggy tuna roll I had at Subway many years ago BUT NO! I know yours will be absolutely delicious and will definitely be a lunch meal for us in the future. I love the sound of the herbs, onion and anchovies as a base and topping, and I like your idea of flattening the baguettes rather than them being squished and toasted in a sandwich maker. A lot fresher. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. Enjoy your day and of course.. Happy cooking 🧑‍🍳
    Sally 🤗

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 17, 2022 at 7:29 am

      Hi Sally, It does sound like it could be a soggy mess; but it works in the best way! the lightly toasted crusty baguette really takes the moisture well and the result is rich, flavorful and it does hold together well. Let me know how you like it when you make it! Have a great day, xo Kelly

  • beth byrd
    May 17, 2022 at 11:02 am

    Years ago my mother introduced me to olive oil packed tuna and I haven’t looked back. There is no comparison. I cannot even imagine the flavor that is packed into this sandwich. Yum!

    • Kelly Djalali
      May 17, 2022 at 12:31 pm

      So true, Beth! It’s hard to imagine going back to water-packed tuna after tasting oil-packed tuna. xo Kelly