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Pan Bagnat with Grilled Peppers and Basil Vinaigrette

Pan Bagnat with Grilled Peppers and Basil Vinaigrette

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Pan Bagnat with Grilled Peppers and Basil Vinaigrette

This classic Provençal sandwich, which means "soaked bread" in the ancient Nice dialect, is nothing more than a Salade Niçoise served between two pieces of bread. In the old days, it was considered to be a humble food, made with ingredients that every household would have on hand.

But today pan bagnat is fashionable fare. And for good reason: It makes an extraordinarily delicious and satisfying meal.

In my version, the grilled peppers add a bit of depth to this simple sandwich, and the basil vinaigrette soaks the whole thing with its ambrosial fragrance — making it the quintessential summer sandwich!


For the peppers

  • 2 large red bell peppers, quartered, stemmed, and seeded
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil

For the vinaigrette

  • 12 large basil leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons aged balsamic or red-wine vinegar
  • 6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 Teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the sandwich

  • 1/3 Cup pitted Niçoise or Kalamata olives, chopped coarsely
  • 1 Tablespoon capers, drained and chopped finely
  • 4 baguette or ciabatta rolls, halved
  • 4 scallions, white and pale green parts only, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Calories Per Serving644

Folate equivalent (total)79µg20%

Riboflavin (B2)0.3mg18.9%

Pan bagnat

(Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe)

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Layer two sandwiches so there’s plenty left for the bread pudding.

1/4cup red wine vinegar
2teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
2/3cup olive oil

1. In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.

2. Gradually whisk in the oil a little at a time until the dressing emulsifies. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

1/2cup olive oil
4yellow, orange, or red bell peppers, stemmed and halved lengthwise
2medium eggplant, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch thick rounds
Salt and pepper, to taste
2focaccia, ciabatta, or other flat, rustic loaves (10 to 15 inches long)
4large tomatoes, sliced
6stems fresh basil, leaves removed
1pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
12thin slices prosciutto or ham

1. Turn on the broiler. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Place the peppers on the sheet cut sides down. Broil until the skins blacken all over, checking them often and moving them with tongs so they char evenly. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover it with a plate. When they cool, scrape off and discard the skins and seeds.

3. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange on the baking sheet and broil for 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, or until browned on both sides.

4. Halve the breads horizontally. If the loaves are thick, hollow them out by tearing away some of the soft crumb to make even top and bottom layers. (Save the bread for breadcrumbs.) Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the cut side of each bottom half.

5. Add a layer of sliced tomatoes to each, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and about 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette. Top with a layer of peppers, another layer of eggplant, 1 more tablespoon of vinaigrette, a layer of basil leaves, mozzarella, and prosciutto.

6. Sprinkle the cut sides of the bread tops with vinaigrette. Set them on the sandwich. Wrap the sandwiches in several layers of plastic wrap and set them on a baking sheet. Lay another baking sheet or flat tray on top and weight the sandwiches with a heavy pan or a stack of plates. Let them rest for 30 minutes.

7. Cut each loaf into 8 wedges. (Save 6 wedges for the pudding.)

Pan Bagnat

The last few days of our recent vacation, we stayed at Bay Cottage, a lovely retreat located on the shore of Discovery Bay near Port Townsend, Washington. It seems like I’ve wanted to stay in a place like that forever — somehow making up for the lack of a family summer vacation rental that so many others seem to have had. If I think about it, the others I’m thinking of were most likely characters in summer reads, or old movies which makes me idealistic, I guess. No matter, because it was beautiful there and we enjoyed sitting in the old Adirondack chairs in the evening marveling over how long the daylight lasts at this time of year, or watching the fog slowly burn off the still water each morning. Large blue herons stand in the shallow water at low tide like statues, patiently waiting for a fish. It was so peaceful.

We’ve enjoyed a variety of vacation rentals in our travels. They’re much more relaxing than staying in a hotel because a television is usually absent, there’s a living room to sprawl out in just like home, and after the daylight is gone, we go through the cards and games usually stashed away in a cupboard somewhere to enjoy a few rounds of Rummy or Trivial Pursuit. We also take the time to read for extended periods of time, enjoying the stillness. Outside of the water lapping against the shore, not much else broke the quiet in the evenings, which is a rare thing to enjoy.

Having a kitchen available is another vacation rental perk. It’s usually stocked with a variety of pots, pans, and utensils and even some pantry basics to add to the groceries we shop for soon after arriving. I know that others often question cooking on a vacation, but honestly, it’s far less trouble at times than deciding where to eat — especially when money can be saved cooking for ourselves. It also makes packing a picnic easier when planning a day trip because if you plan with that in mind as you hit the market, then you can enjoy some pretty tasty treats on your outings.

Pan Bagnat (pahn-bahn-yah) is the perfect make ahead picnic food because other than needing to boil a few eggs, open a can of good tuna, slice vegetables, and prepare a simple vinaigrette, all you need is bread and some bricks — or in my case, weights. On the other hand, if you’ve got children, you might consider using the weighting technique mentioned in this version of Pan Bagnat published in the New York Times.

Each bite of this wonderful sandwich is a treat whether you’re enjoying it at home or otherwise — and it’s fun to make. Have you had Pan Bagnat before?

Pan Bagnat

Dressing Ingredients

1/8 c. red wine vinegar

1/8 c. sherry vinegar

1 T balsamic vinegar

3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1-1/2 tsp. soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

salt & pepper

Sandwich Ingredients

1 loaf crusty bread

1 c. good olives, chopped

2 roasted peppers, peeled and seeded

1 can of good tuna packed in olive oil, un-drained

basil, about a hand full

red onions, thin sliced

Brie, enough slices to cover one side of the loaf

cucumber, about 1 cup sliced

eggs, hard boiled, sliced

Brie, sliced

Anchovies, optional

Capers, optional

Chef's Notes:

The French say this sandwich is not properly done unless there is oil dripping from it when you're eating, so don't be shy with the oil. Also, the longer it sits in the fridge being pressed, the better.

You can use a flatter loaf, such as ciabatta instead of a French loaf.

You can use any vinegar of your choice.

You can use any fresh, roasted, or pickled pepper you like instead of banana peppers, and add any ingredient you like, such as artichoke hearts, sliced fennel, or maybe some blanched green beans.


To Make The Anchovy Dressing: Whisk together the anchovy, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, taste, and adjust as desired. If using a French roll, pull out some soft interior crumb to form a cavity.

To Assemble The Sandwich: Spread half of the artichokes and tuna on the bottom. Top with tomato and olives, then radishes, basil, and egg slices. Top with vinaigrette. Cover with second bread half and firmly press sandwich together. Wrap sandwich tightly in foil.

Put sandwich under a weight such as a cast iron pan topped with a filled kettle. Weight sandwich for 7 to 10 to 15 minutes, then flip and weight it for another 10 to 15 minutes. Unwrap, slice and serve immediately, or keep it wrapped for up to 12 hours before serving.


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More France On Salt & Wind Travel

Aida Mollenkamp

Aida is a food and travel expert, author, chef, Food Network personality, founder of the travel services company, Salt & Wind Travel, and partner at the creative agency and educational platform, Border Free Media. She has made her career in food travel media and hospitality and has crisscrossed the globe to search out the best food destinations.

After graduating from the Cornell Hotel School and Le Cordon Bleu Paris, she joined CHOW Magazine where she ran the test kitchen and worked as Food Editor. Aida then moved to television, hosting the Food Network show, Ask Aida, FoodCrafters on the Cooking Channel, In The Pantry on Yahoo!, and the TasteMade series, Off Menu. Her cookbook, Keys To The Kitchen, is a go-to for home cooks who want to become more adventurous cooks and the Travel Guides For Food Lovers series she has co-authored are beloved among food travelers.

Through Border Free Media, Aida shares the lessons she’s learned as an entrepreneur with other creative businesses. From teaching our Cooking Club classes to cohosting our group trips, in all that she does Aida aims to help discerning travelers taste the world.

Pan Bagnat revisited – Pan Bagnat sandwich or something similar with grilled pepper tuna

Sandwiches are not my favorite food, I very rarely eat sandwiches, almost never…but on Sundays I sometimes go to “Le Garage” in Sausalito for brunch (a little touristy town across the Golden Gate bridge), it’s a really cute French restaurant that serves good brunches, fresh, seasonal products and with a gorgeous view of the Bay, so all reasons combined to make it a great place for brunch.

Last time I had brunch there, I tried their Pan Bagnat, a typical sandwich from Nice, just because I had already tried everything on their menu and I was starving (that’s when I can appreciate a sandwich). I never order sandwiches in a restaurant, not because I am a snob or picky, just because I really don’t like to eat that much bread at once, it’s that simple. Besides, for me sandwich is something you eat “sur le pouce” (on the thumb) meaning on the go, you grab it and leave or they’re great for picnic but I don’t like to sit down in a restaurant to eat a sandwich.

Anyway to cut it short, one Sunday Pan Bagnat and myself met again after such a very long time that I had almost forgotten its existence and we fell in love over again.

Pan Bagnat, in dialect from Nice (Pain baigné = wet bread) is made with salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced eggs, tuna, olives niçoises (also sometimes anchovies are used) and lots of olive oil (that’s where its name comes from, wet in olive oil). You can use green peppers, and basil as well. The bread used is a special round bread that is opened, with the white part of the bread removed (I have just learned that technically in proper English it’s called crumb – no S). The composition of Pan Bagnat is very similar to salade niçoise, and using local ingredients from Nice. The round bread is soaking in vinegar, olive oil to make it softer and then filled with those ingredients. Every bakery in Nice sells those but you can find it in other regions as well.

My Pan Bagnat has been a little modified from its original recipe, for the purists, please forgive my audacity to call it Pan Bagnat…Instead of canned tuna I used fresh ahi tuna grilled coated with coarse black pepper and some bell pepper paste as a spread.

Ingredients for 4 sandwiches

For the spread

  • 1 cup roasted red peppers
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 2 tbs walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Sandwich Ingredients

  • 4 slices ahi tuna (about 7.2 oz each slice)
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ English cucumber, finely sliced
  • 2 eggs, boiled, sliced crosswise
  • 4 radishes, slices
  • 2 tbs Niçoise olives
  • 4 tsp capers
  • ½ red onion, sliced crosswise (to get rings)
  • 4 tsp. coarsely grind or crushed black pepper
  • 2 tsp dill, chopped
  • wine vinegar and olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt


Cut the roll in two, still leaving the bottom portion bigger than the top. Remove some of the white part of the bread from bottom side.

First start preparing the spread. Place roasted pepper in a mixer, then add basil, garlic, basil, walnuts, olive oil and salt. Mix to obtain a smooth paste. Adjust with salt if necessary. Set aside in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator.

Crush black pepper in a mortar or you can also use a pepper grinder that grinds coarsely. Place pepper in a flat surface or a plate. Add kosher salt to both sides of the tuna and press tuna firmly on top of pepper to coat both sides.

Grill tuna under broiler or on a grill on both sides for 3 minutes each sides or until the outside is cooked but still rosy in the middle. Do not overcook, leave the center of the tuna rare. When cooked remove from the oven or grill, and slice in small strips.

Using your hand squeeze firmly cucumber slices to remove excess water, add a little olive oil, dill and salt.
Spread 1 tbs of the roasted pepper pesto on each sides of bread. Place arugula, tomatoes, egg, tuna strips, cucumbers, onion, capers, radishes and olives. Drizzle with extra olive oil, a little wine vinegar. Press firmly and serve.

This entry was posted by silvia on October 8, 2009 at 10:04 pm, and is filed under Express - Less than 30 minutes, Fish/Seafood. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0.You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.

In Your Box (serves 2)

  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 4 oz. Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 oz. Green Beans
  • 1¼ oz. Black Olives
  • &frac13 oz. Capers
  • 1 Lemon
  • 15 oz. Cannellini Beans
  • ¼ oz. Dijon Mustard

Due to our just-in-time sourcing model, we may have to send you a substitute ingredient. Not to worry! We make sure every ingredient sent to you meets our high quality standards. We’ll keep you informed should a switch occur, so please check the ingredient labels in your meal bag.

Pan Bagnat – Perfect Picnic Sandwich to Feed a Crowd

Pan Bagnat literally translates to “Bathed Bread” as the bread here actually is intended to soak up all the flavors. This French sandwich is typical to the Provence region of France. It can be found in every market or bakery in the area. It contains the typical Provencal ingredients of fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, anchovies, and tuna. It’s basically Salad Niçoise on bread.

This Provencal tuna sandwich is traditionally made with a round rustic bread. It is stuffed with all of the ingredients, pressed, chilled and served to feed a crowd. The ability to feed so many makes sense when you consider that you’re filling up a whole loaf of bread. Mind you, good rustic bread is not always easy to find. So, feel free to substitute with a ciabatta as I did in this recipe.

Also, because you need to make this sandwich ahead of time, it’s a perfect option for a picnic. You can make it the night before and the next day just pack it and take it with you. As I write this post, we’re approaching spring in New York and this sandwich recipe couldn’t come at a better time.

Why did I use Wild Planet Albacore Tuna for this Pan Bagnat Recipe?

I chose Wild Planet Albacore Tuna for this French sandwich recipe because I love how it tastes and I love how serious this brand is about our health and the health of the planet. Before I even partnered up with Wild Planet Foods to make this recipe, I had a stock of Wild Planet Albacore Tuna in my pantry. I always bought it in bulk at my local Costco.

The health of my family is very important to me and I make it to a point to choose brands that prioritize this. This is Wild Planet Foods’ pledge:

  1. Provide the highest quality, premium foods that are delicious and nutritious
  2. Produce them in the most sustainable, earth-friendly ways possible
  3. Protect and enhance their nutritional value

I think it says it all. If you want to know more, then head over to the Wild Planet Foods website to read all the important information.

Ingredients Needed to Make French Sandwich – Pan Bagnat

Alright, let’s get back to this fantastic Pan Bagnat recipe. Here’s a list of the ingredients that are needed to make this French sandwich. You can always skip whatever doesn’t fit your palate or add other ingredients that you’d like. This list is simply meant to provide you with a grocery list. For exact measurements, please scroll down to the printable recipe at the bottom of this post.

  • 12 ” Ciabatta Bread (Note: traditionally the French would use round rustic bread I, however, sometimes have difficulty finding it so for me the easiest substitution was ciabatta. You can also see that it lent itself well to being portioned into these small super cute picnic sandwiches, but if you find round approximately 7 ” rustic bread and want to go authentic, feel free to use it)
  • 2 cans Wild Planet Albacore Tuna in Water
  • Red pepper
  • Scallions
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Sliced eggs
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Sliced Niçoise olives (these are sometimes hard to get you can substitute with Kalamata olives)
  • Anchovies filets

How to Make Pan Bagnat

This is a super easy recipe to make. In this paragraph, I want to visually show you how to make Pan Bagnat. Scroll down for a full printable recipe with all the detailed instructions and nutritional information.

Step 1. Place your eggs in a pot with cold water. Boil your eggs for about 10 minutes from the time the water starts boiling. Remove the eggs and cool them off in cold water.

Step 2: Place your Wild Planet Tuna in a bowl, mash it with the fork. Then thinly slice peppers and chop scallions. Add to tuna and mix all together.

Step 2: In a separate bowl combine olive oil with mustard and mix together (this mixture can stay a little lumpy)

Step 3: Cut your bread horizontally and scoop out some of the bread from the inside (you’ll want to create sort of a boat that will hold all the ingredients well together)

Step 4: Brush olive oil/mustard mixture onto the bottom half of the bread. Add sliced tomatoes, sliced eggs, sliced cucumbers, sliced olives, and anchovies

Step 5: Brush oil/mustard mixture on top of your bread, cover the sandwich and wrap with a plastic foil

Step 6: Place the sandwich in between two baking sheets, and place something heavy on top to weight it down ( cast iron skillet , brick or heavy books). Put it into the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.

Step 7: Remove from the fridge and cut off the edges of the bread. Then cut the bread into 2 ” sandwiches and pack for a picnic.

What to Serve this French Sandwich With:

As this is a recipe for a picnic or other similar gathering, I’d suggest serving it with a side of salad. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Pan Bagnat with Grilled Peppers and Basil Vinaigrette - Recipes

These are approximate amounts of ingredients, because basically what you are doing is creating a Salad Nicoise in a salad bowl and then stuffing the roll or bread with it. So the following is a basic outline of how to put together the salad and the amounts of each you should judge according to your personal taste. You are the cook! So pick and mix the following to your liking and then make your sandwich with it!

1 sturdy roll or section of baguette
1 clove of garlic grated or finely chopped
vinegar (I like to use tarragon infused vinegar)
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
1 very ripe tomato
1 hard boiled egg
anchovy filets to your taste
1/2 green pepper
1/2 scallion
tuna fish, canned or preferably fresh and seared to medium rare
some black olives
3 leaves of fresh basil
leaves of your favorite salad greens

1. Hard boil the egg and cool.
2. If you are using fresh tuna, sear it in a very hot skillet until just medium rare. Cool and slice into thick slices.
3. Quarter the hard boiled egg and tomato, or slice if you like
4. Cut anchovy filets into thin slices or squares.
5. Cut the green pepper and scallion into small pieces or slices.
6. Roll the fresh basil leaves and cut in thin pieces to make a julliene.
7. Toss the lettuce into the bowl with all of the above ingredients.
8. In a separate small bowl, whisk extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and sea salt to taste to make a vinaigrette.
9. Scoop out the insides of a large sturdy roll or section of baguette and sprinkle with a few drops of vinegar. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and salt as well.
10. Toss the Salad Nicoise with the whisked salad vinaigrette and then put some inside the roll. Press the top of the roll firmly down and cool the sandwich in the refrigerator for about an hour. By then, the juices of all the ingredients have mingled and permeated the roll---making this sandwich burst with great flavor in your mouth.

Pan Bagnat with Grilled Peppers and Basil Vinaigrette - Recipes

Makes one big-ass sandwich that can feed at least 2

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium-size, ripe tomato, sliced

1/2 small red onion, sliced

1 jar (8 oz) tuna packed in olive oil, drained

4 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives, pitted

1 hard-cooked egg, peeled and thinly sliced.

In a small bowl, whisk together the anchovies, garlic, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly until emulsified.

Coarsely chop the olives and capers, then combine in a small bowl with the minced garlic and set aside.

Slice baguette in half lengthwise, pull out some soft interior crumb to form a cavity.

Peel cucumber & halve lengthwise, and scoop out seeds from one half. Thinly slice seedless half. Add sliced cucumber to vinaigrette and toss well.

Fill the bottom part of the baguette with the olive mixture, spreading it evenly across the hollowed-out baguette, then spread half the cucumbers on top. Next up, spread the tuna over that. Top with tomato and onion slices, then with pepper, arugula, avocado, basil, olives & egg slices. Top egg with remaining cucumbers and vinaigrette. Cover with second bread half and firmly press sandwich together.

Wrap sandwich tightly in foil, waxed paper or plastic wrap, then place in a plastic bag. Put sandwich under a weight such as a cast-iron frying pan topped with a filled kettle, or have a child about 7 years old sit on it. Weight sandwich for 7 to 10 minutes, then flip and weight it for another 7 to 10 minutes (or as long as you can get the child to sit still). Unwrap, slice and serve immediately, or keep it wrapped for up to 8 hours before serving.


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