Super Summer Sandwich Supper
Get a flavorful meal-in-a-sandwich dinner on the table before you can trip over that tongue twister.
If you’ve had the pleasure to summer in Nice, no doubt you’ve seen or tasted pan bagnet, the overstuffed sandwich that resembles salade Nicoise, the classic composed salad of tuna and marinated vegetables and eggs. It’s one of those dishes a novice cook can prepare without performance anxiety. The measurements don’t have to be exact, and you can throw your fave tasties into the mix.
I love it for a summer menu because, unless you decide to go native and add a hard-boiled egg, this filling sandwich requires no cooking. You can even pick up ingredients at the deli counter, including roasted peppers instead of chopping and seeding a raw, red beauty, and pop a few cooked eggs into your basket instead of simmering your own.
Some markets even offer peeled and diced onions to make summer life even easier. All you have to do then is open a few cans, toss everything together, slice the bread and done and done. If you happen by a Trader Joe’s, look for a jar of their diced artichoke mix.
After a hot day at the beach, or a long one at the office holding down the fort while the rest of the team is on vacay, this easy recipe hits all the food groups and taste notes. Serve it out on the deck or back yard with a cold one, and you might even talk yourself into thinking you’re in the south of France.
- 1 loaf crusty French baguette
- Mild extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- 1 clove garlic, cut in half
- 2 (6oz) cans tuna with oil, drained
- 2 tablespoons mild, extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half lemon
- 3/4 cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, sliced, or 1/4 cup capers
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 jar or can marinated or plain artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Additional mild extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- 1 small bunch basil leaves
- Slice the bread in half lengthwise and scoop out the doughy inside to leave a bowl shape for the filling. Use the scooped bread to dry and use another time for breadcrumbs.
- Dip a pastry brush in olive oil or use a spoon and coat the bread liberally but don’t have it sopping. Brush the garlic over the bread. Use more or less garlic, depending on the intensity you desire. Set aside.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients except for the olive oil for drizzling and the basil leaves. Mix thoroughly, taste and season according to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice if desired. Add other ingredients listed below if desired, and more olives, pepper, or onion if you’d like.
- Pack the mixture tightly into the bread and spread evenly. Drizzle with a light coating of olive oil and arrange the basil leaves on top.
- Cover with the top of the bread and cut in quarters.
- Wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap.
- Arrange the sandwiches closely together on a plate and weigh down with a cast iron skillet or other heavy weight. Use two plates and weights if necessary. Set aside for 20–30 minutes, longer if possible.
- Serve with a side salad if desired and chilled beverage of choice.
Other possible additions to layer on top of the tuna mixture: anchovies, hard boiled-egg slices, steamed green beans; marinated white beans, hard cheese.
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