When my husband and I acquired our farmhouse in Provence in 1984, our visits were generally limited to weekend getaways from Paris. For the train ride back to the city, a snack was essential, and pan bagnat, or “bathed bread,” the Provençal sandwich found at every bakery and market in the region, became our standby.
Provencal Tuna Sandwich
- 2 plum tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 (5-oz.) can olive oil-packed tuna, drained
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- ½ small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced into 2″ lengths
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 (7″) round rustic bread loaf, split (about 20 oz.)
- 1 small bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced crosswise
- 8 oil-cured anchovies, drained
- 10 salt-cured black olives, pitted and halved
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Sprinkle tomato slices liberally with salt and transfer to a colander; set aside to drain for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, break up tuna with a fork and stir in scallions and bell pepper; set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together oil and mustard; set dressing aside.
- Scoop the insides from the bread loaf and discard or reserve for another use. Place tomatoes evenly over bottom of bread and then top with fennel and cucumbers; spread tuna mixture over top, and then top with egg slices, anchovies, and olives. Pour dressing evenly over ingredients, and season with salt and pepper; cover with top of bread, pressing lightly to compact.
- Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and place on a baking sheet; top with another baking sheet and weight with a cast-iron skillet. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Slice into quarters to serve.