1 short loaf French bread or 1/2 long loaf*
1 (very loose) cup flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, smashed
10 oz canned tuna in olive oil
6 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons minced Nicoise and Picholine olives
1 anchovy, minced
1/4 cup sliced red onion
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
5-6 green beans, blanched, cut into bite-sized pieces (optional)
Slice the loaf in half longways. Scoop out some of the middle of the bottom half to form a sort of trough. Discard the insides (or nibble). Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil. Rub with the clove of garlic. Line the trough with parsley. Set aside. Chop any remaining parsley.
In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, artichoke hearts, olives, anchovy, chopped parsley, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Fill the trough with the tuna mixture. Top with green beans. Close the sandwich. Wrap the sandwich very tightly in foil, waxed paper or plastic wrap. Weight it down with a large cast iron skillet overnight**.
Cut the sandwich in half. Take a bite. Pretend you are in the French countryside.
Yield: 2 big sandwiches
*Take care to buy a wider, fatter loaf so there is plenty of room for the filling.
**I don't see any need to refrigerate this sandwich overnight because everything is safe at room temperature. However, if you do want to refrigerate it and cannot fit it and your cast iron skillet into the fridge, press it for a few hours then refrigerate. Allow to come to room temperature prior to serving.
My thoughts:This is a wonderful, French twist on lunch. It is the perfect thing to take on a picnic or to work because not only is is dead simple to make, one makes it the night before. No work required the next day at all! There are a lot of variations on pan bagnat, which is basically Salade Niçoise in sandwich form. Some recipes call for hard-boiled eggs in the sandwich but I prefer to leave more room for filling and serve with one the side with some cornichons.
While you can eat the sandwich right away (I admit to eating some filling with a fork as I made it) it really is better the next day when the flavors have a chance to meld.
I'm part of a small group of bloggers who are posting regional dishes as part of Bravo's “Around the World in 80 Plates”. The show features chefs from all over the US racing through cities across the country and taking over restaurants to serve their version of the native cuisine. This week's show takes place in Lyon, France. Tune in on May 16th, 10/9c. Check out their Facebook page and see pictures of what other bloggers are up to and to learn more about the show.