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A French Sandwich Tradition: Pan Bagnat Recipe

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Summertime in the south of France is synonymous with delicious recipes. Salade niçoise, pissaladière... and for picnicking, pan bagnat. Pan bagnat is Niçois for bathed bread. Once you've learned the simple yet delicious recipe, you'll know why!


Pan bagnat starts with a round loaf of bread or a round roll. It should be crusty on the outside and softer on the inside, much like a baguette. In fact, if you can't find the traditional round bread, baguette makes a great substitute.

The ingredients for the filling are in many ways the same as those one would put in a Niçoise salad: tomatoes, olives, extra-virgin olive oil, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, lettuce. You can, however, vary them to your heart's content. Just be sure to use the freshest organic ingredients, and select a really top quality olive oil.

The Idea

The idea behind a pan bagnat is that in preparing the sandwich in the morning, the flavors will have soaked into the bread, "bathing" it, by the time you take it out for lunch. For this reason, it's very important to wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap. You could also try eco-friendly Bee's Wrap if you prefer.

The Recipe

Makes 1 sandwich

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From the Organic Authority Files


1 round loaf of bread for pan bagnat, or 1/3 baguette loaf
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tomato, sliced
2 ounces tuna canned in olive oil, drained
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
2-3 Niçois olives, pitted and diced
salt, to taste 


Slice the loaf or baguette in half widthwise. Use a pastry brush to spread the olive oil over the insides of the bread. You may have leftover oil, depending on the size of your bread.

On the bottom half of the bread, stack the tomatoes, tuna and egg. Sprinkle the olives over the top. Place the final slice of bread on top.

Wrap the sandwich very tightly and keep cool. Reserve about three hours before eating.

Image: Gunnar Grimes

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