A special tuna fish sandwich recipe? I imagine you're not too surprised to find out that the French have their very own version of a tuna salad sandwich. It's called a pan bagnat, and it is a specialty of Nice. Yes, that's the same Nice that brought us salad Niçoise.
Have you ever had a salad Niçoise? Are you sure? For what goes into a salad Niçoise is subject of great debate amongst people who care about such things (basically people from Nice). In France, every home chef seems to have their version, the one true version, of this salad. If you go into a bistro in Paris, you just might find a salad Niçoise on the menu, but is it the the real one? Most people from the south of France would probably argue otherwise.
The same thing goes on, but to a lesser degree for the pan bagnat, which some people say is just a salad Niçoise in a sandwich. Although I'm sure a few French people will agree with my ingredient list on this one, I'm probably already in trouble for writing down this recipe and calling it a pan bagnat. I may receive a nasty letter from the Pan Bagnat association (which actually exists). There are even some who will claim that a true pan bagnat doesn't even contain tuna.
I'm certainly not going to argue with them. I can only say in my defense that this is the tuna fish sandwich recipe that I've been served in sandwich shops when I ordered a pan bagnat, and it is delicious. What makes it different from other tuna fish sandwiches? Lots of olive oil and fresh vegetables.
You can make this tuna fish sandwich recipe with any sort of crusty French bread you'd like - a baguette would be just fine. However, it is more typically served using a large round loaf or possibly smaller individual rounds.
If you're using a large round of bread, cut the top third or so off of the bread and scoop out some of the crumb, leaving about an inch of crust all around, before filling it with the ingredients and returning the top to it's place. After that you can slice it into servings.
This would make a good picnic lunch or sliced in small enough servings you could serve it as an appetizer, although it might get a bit messy.
Makes 4 servings
You could also add chopped radishes and artichoke hearts, which I'm sure some people consider essential ingredients to this tuna fish sandwich recipe. But most importantly, you should add what pleases you.
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