For a delicious meal perfect for a picnic or a dinner on the patio, try a pan bagnat! This pressed sandwich from Nice is not only easy to make, but it improves with age as the bread soaks up the dressing.
Summer is in full swing again here, leaving me to brainstorm dinners which keep me out of the kitchen. Luckily many other cooks over the years have also had this conundrum – to eat without (much) cooking, and one of the results is the French sandwich I’m bringing to you today.
A pan bagnat (which means wet/bathed bread) is the genius combination of purchased prepared foods (like jarred tuna, bread, olives), fresh vegetables (such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers), and dressing to bring it all together. The only ingredient you need to cook is a few eggs. 10 minutes of cooking and you’re done! Just what I like for hot weather.
And, to make it even better, it’s designed to be made ahead! Which makes this sandwich especially good for packed lunches, picnics, hikes, and other times you want food to eat later. Just wrap up each portion separately and then everyone can open up their meal while keeping their veggies in place. Win/win!
What do you need?
- Bread – Choose a sturdy loaf with a good crust. (Nothing too soft.) Also stay away from any which are too thin, since you need enough space to lay out the filling.
- Jarred Tuna – Tuna is a main ingredient here. For best results, use a firm oil packed variety sold in a glass jar.
- Eggs – A few large eggs.
- Fresh Vegetables – I like cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes. Feel free to mix it up with whatever you have fresh and in season.
- Marinated Vegetables – I use artichokes here. Roasted peppers or hearts of palm are other good choices.
- Olives – Black kalamata or nicoise olives, pitted and halved.
How to make this
To make a pan bagnat cut open a crusty loaf of bread, layer in filling, and drizzle in a tangy dressing. Then wrap and press the sandwich until flattened.
1. Prep the Filling
Slice all the vegetables which need to be cut up and cook the eggs. I recommend steaming the eggs instead of boiling and have included instructions in the recipe card. I find them much easier to peel when steamed vs boiled.
2. Make the Dressing
Whisk together the dressing ingredients until fully combined.
Cut your bread in half. Layer in all the filling ingredients. Distribute the dressing evenly over the top.
Tip: If your bread has a firm crumb (as in middle), you may want to pull out some of the bread to make a well for the filling.
Once you have your sandwich all assembled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper and press it down with something heavy. I like to start with a cutting board for a flat surface and then add cast iron, heavy canned goods, or similar.
Press for at least 20 minutes. If you have the whole thing in the fridge you can leave it as is for a couple of hours or just press on the counter for up to an hour and then put the pressed sandwich in the fridge until you want to eat.
Tip: For eating at picnic, slice it up before you leave and then wrap each portion separately.
You can connect with me by subscribing to my emails (see the form in the sidebar or below the recipe card), liking my FACEBOOK page, or by following me on PINTEREST.
If you try my recipe, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Stay Safe, Annemarie
Pan Bagnat – French Pressed Sandwich
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1 small clove garlic, finely minced or grated
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 oil packed anchovy (or 1 tsp anchovy paste), finely chopped, optional
- 3 eggs
- 1 baguette, or similar long loaf
- 1 6-oz jar oil packed tuna, drained
- 1 6-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata (or nicoise) olives
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 small cucumber, sliced
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Dressing: In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, capers, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Eggs: Set up a pot with a steamer insert and a bowl of ice water. Fill the pot with some water and bring to a boil. Add eggs to steamer, cover, and cook for 9-12 minutes (depending on how firm you want the yolks). Transfer the eggs to the ice water and cool. When cool, peel and slice.
- Sandwich: Cut baguette in half. Layer on all the filling ingredients – tuna, artichoke, olives, tomato, basil, cucumber, onion, and eggs. Drizzle over the dressing.
- Press: Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap, foil, or wax paper. Place a heavy weight on top. Press the sandwich for 20 minutes to 1 hour. If not eating immediately, keep wrapped and refrigerated until you are ready to serve, up to 8-10 hours.
- Serve: Unwrap, slice, and eat.
- Garlic: To grate the garlic I use a microplane.
- Bread: Choose a loaf which is fairly wide. Too skinny a loaf and all the toppings fall off.
- Pressing: I like to use a cutting board as a flat surface and then pile heavy items, such as cast iron skillets on top.
- Filling Ideas: You can use all sorts of tender vegetables in the recipe, either in place of the ones I chose or in addition. Some ideas are: thinly sliced radishes, thin blanched green beans, sliced bell peppers (raw or roasted), other olives, parsley.
- Tip: If you need more room for the filling (such as if the crumb of your bread is quite firm), scoop out some of the crumb to make a well.
Leave a Reply