Welcome to le pique-nique! (That’s French for picnic: insert blissful face right here.)
This French picnic sandwich, pan bagnat, is your new greatest pal for any out of doors tour. You’ll be able to—and may—make it forward. It’s imagined to be just a little tender and squishy on the within from the tuna fish and olive oil soaking into the bread. It’s, nicely, magnifique!
The place does pan bagnat come from?
Pan bagnat is to the world round Good (within the French Mediterranean) as muffuletta is to New Orleans.
You discover the sandwich on each nook—in bakeries, markets, and even in stands by the seaside. Historically, it’s made with spherical crusty rolls, however you additionally discover it ready in baguettes or large spherical loaves, that are reduce into particular person slices.
This sandwich identified variously as pan bagnat, pan bagna, or ache bagnat—all pronounced “pahn bahn-yah.” The which means of the identify is actually “bathed bread.”
It’s mainly a Salade Nicoise in a sandwich, however oh, what a sandwich!
What’s a pan bagnat, precisely?
Canned tuna, anchovies, olives, tomatoes, onions and hard-boiled eggs are a number of of the usual components, however this sandwich is usually a catchall for any others you might need round.
Strive including thinly sliced fennel, leftover inexperienced beans, radishes, cucumbers, contemporary herbs, candy peppers and crimson peppers from a jar—just some of the chances! You could possibly even substitute leftover contemporary tuna or salmon for the canned tuna.
The hallmark of this sandwich is its very sogginess: The bread is doused with olive oil earlier than being crammed, after which pressed in order that it absorbs all of the juices from the tuna fish and different components.
This makes a scrumptious live performance of components that marry collectively because the sandwich sits. Crusty bread ensures that the insides are tender however exterior of the bread stays agency.
What’s the perfect type of tuna to make use of?
I vote for canned tuna fish relatively than contemporary tuna on this sandwich (and in Salade Nicoise as nicely), however solely whether it is packed in olive oil.
Water packed tuna is, in fact, decrease in energy, however it is usually just a little drier than tuna in olive oil. In distinction, tuna packed in olive oil is tender and moist, and the flavour of the tuna actually shines. You’ll be able to drain some, however not all, of the oil if you happen to like. Simply don’t press all of it out, since it is vitally flavorful.
If I’m feeling like a splurge, for a number of extra I purchase Tonnino tuna in a jar. I particularly just like the lemon and pepper model. I find it irresistible in each this sandwich and in Salade Nicoise, which is my go-to supper on a summer season night time when the fridge is naked however I nonetheless have some tomatoes, olives, and eggs available.
The perfect bread for pan bagnat
Your best option for this sandwich is a crusty loaf. When engaged on this recipe, I used to be capable of finding some 10-inch lengthy baguette-style loaves, which are perfect for the sandwich since every loaf could possibly be reduce in half to make two sandwiches. A big spherical loaf that’s about eight inches in diameter would additionally work.
In different phrases, any crusty loaf that appears like it could make 4 sandwiches will work (and even equally crusty rolls). Hole out among the insides of the bread, leaving an area for the components.
About these hardboiled eggs
Hardboiled eggs are fairly easy—if you happen to occur to have a number of available, simply slice them so as to add to the sandwich. For straightforward-peel onerous boiled eggs, make sure you steam them or make them within the strain cooker.
My husband was just a little leery of them on this sandwich, however commented on how they added an virtually creamy texture to the filling. I prefer to cook dinner a number of additional for snacks or to take with me on days once I run out the door with out breakfast.
Tame your uncooked onions
Uncooked onions of any sort could be takeover artists in any sandwich, dominating (and for me, ruining) all the opposite components. There’s a answer!
- Soak them in chilly water to leach out the enzymes that convert to pungent compounds.
- Do that inside seconds after an onion is reduce.
Go away them within the water whilst you assemble the opposite components and provides them a fast rinse, which places them of their place as crew gamers, however they nonetheless retain some crispness.
I desire crimson onion right here and that’s the same old one used as a result of I like the colour, however you would use a candy Vidalia onion or a plain yellow onion if you happen to like.
Now add some salty stuff!
Anchovies, capers, and olives add rather a lot to the sandwich, however you need to use them at your discretion. Small, pitted Nicoise olives are my favorites for his or her gentle saltiness, however these finer factors needs to be decided by what’s out there to you and what you want.
The best way to Assemble the Pan Bagnat
After getting the components assembled, now comes the enjoyable half. Brush the tops and bottoms of the bread with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and just a little vinegar and pile on the fillings.
Then wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and weigh it down with one thing heavy, equivalent to a forged iron skillet with a number of canned items positioned on high, or your heaviest pot. Press the sandwiches for about 10 minutes, flip them over and press for one more 10 minutes. Then reduce via the plastic wrap with a pointy or serrated knife, and you’re able to go.
Your pique-nique awaits! Pack your basket with these sandwiches, a bottle of chilled French rosé and plenty of napkins. Bon appetit!