If you ever had visited the French Rivera during the summer time, chances are that you have enjoyed a Pan Bagnat. Originally from Nice, a Pan Bagnat is a Nicoise salad in a sandwich format. Its literal translation from Niçard, the Provençal dialect spoken in Nice, is “bathed bread” referring to the amount of olive oil used. Pan Bagnats are so profoundly tied to the culinary past of Nice, that an association does exist, to certify the famous sandwich for bakeries and eateries looking for more authenticity. No need to say that eating a Pan Bagnat is taking part of long living tradition.
Although mainly considered as a street food in France, the ingredients composing the Pan Bagnat work so well together, that it can easily be declined to a gourmet appetizer for a cocktail party. The use of mini gourmet breads or brioches as well as the addition of the bow, will allow this main street sandwich to proudly win it’s spurs.
The mise en place of the Pan Bagnat is really easy. The most important part is in the selection and preparation of each individual ingredient. In the case of the mini sandwiches, finely dicing each ingredient is the crucial element. A larger version will also be quite suitable for picnics and outdoor activities.
Mini “Pan Bagnats”
(Recipe for 12 servings)
12 mini ciabatta breads*
5 oz (150g) of mesclun salad (young salad mix)
1 red pepper, seeded
1 small white onion, finely diced
4 scallions (green onions), finely diced
8 oz (230g) of cherry tomatoes, cut in 4 and salted
5 oz of black olives, seeded and diced
15 oz (425g) of premium canned tuna, flaked
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in 2
¼ cup (60ml) of extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper
* Any other kind of crusty mini roll or mini brioche will work.
** Optional. Available at Art & craft stores.
Bring the eggs to a boil and let them cook for 9 minutes. Transfer them in a bowl filled with ice and water to stop the cooking. Once cold, peel and slice them.
Slice the ciabatta bread in two, and rub the inside with the garlic cloves. Take each bottom part and fill with each of the ingredients: cherry tomatoes, mesclun, tuna, red pepper, white and green onions, olives, eggs. Finish with some olive oil, red wine vinegar and season to taste. Place the bread top and repeat with the other ones.
Tie a bow around your Pan Bagnats using the raffia. Store in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours to ensure that all the different flavors develop.
Note: We have avoided the traditional use of anchovy, because of its strong taste but feel free to add them if you like it.