Today we made one our favorite sandwiches for a picnic on the water. The tradition of making the Pan Bagnat, from Cooks Illustrated, started last summer when we were quarentineeing and going on an epic (and crazy) kayak trip at Plum Island. I was taking a day off and the idea was to go on a nice easy paddle, see some wildlife and picnic with the sandwich and wine. What started as a fun trip turned sour when we got stuck in the mud for 2 hours due to low tide. Certainly made for a memorable trip and today we are NOT doing that again. Instead we are going on a nice leisurely paddle on the Concord River, bringing some wine and chips to go with the Pan Bagnat.
On a more practicle note and some advice when making this: it helps to have two people putting this recipe together since there are several steps but it can be made individually. Also I recommend taking out all the ingredients and as you use them, put them in a designated spot. It really helps with so many moving parts to track what is used vs. what still needs to go in. Finally, building the sandwich might seem like a feat all in itself. I promise, everything will make fit. It just takes patience and time. I really enjoyed our cooking adventure and hope you enjoyed reading about it!
- 1 vine-ripened tomato, cored and sliced thin
- 1 small red onion, sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 1 large baguette, sliced horizontally
- ¾ cup niçoise olives, pitted or Kalamata Olives
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems
- 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves
- 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 (6½ ounce) jars olive oil-packed tuna, drained
- 3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced thin
Getting the filling ready
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lay tomato slices on paper towel–lined plate and set aside.
- Place onion, vinegar, garlic, and salt in bowl and toss to combine. Set aside
- Using your hands or metal spoon, remove inner crumb from baguette bottom to create trough, leaving ¼-inch border on sides and bottom. Place baguette halves cut side up on baking sheet and bake until very lightly toasted, 5 minutes.
- Take the olives, parsley, capers, marjoram, and anchovies and put them in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely but evenly chopped, 10 to 12 pulses. Transfer olive mixture to bowl with onion mixture.
- Add ¼ cup oil, mustard, and pepper to olive & onion mixture and toss to combine. Set aside.
Setting Up The Sandwich
- Brush inside of each baguette half with 1 tablespoon oil.
- Place two-thirds of olive mixture in hollow of baguette bottom and spread evenly.
- Distribute tuna evenly over olive mixture and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. (I recommend pressing the tuna down to make a flat surface for the tomatoes to go on)
- Shingle tomato slices over tuna.
- Shingle egg slices over tomato.
- Top eggs with remaining olive mixture and cap with baguette top (sandwich will be very full).
- Press gently on sandwich and slice in half crosswise on bias.
- Wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap. Place rimmed baking sheet on top of sandwiches and weight with heavy Dutch oven or two 5-pound bags of flour or sugar for 1 hour, flipping sandwiches halfway through weighting. (Wrapped sandwiches can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let come to room temperature before serving.)
Unwrap sandwiches, slice each sandwich in half (or in thirds to serve 6) on bias, and serve.
Remove disposable pan and place cooked chicken on top of sauce. Serve with rice & beans, salad or sides of your choice.