Steinbeck Bagnat

January 13, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

I came up with this recipe because I couldn’t find the canned sardine app for my new smartphone. Also because I found some really good tinned sardines when I was in Monterey, CA last Fall. While there I discovered Cannery Row Sardine Co. The young entrepreneur behind this had the brilliant idea of bringing back sardines to Cannery Row. And he has a great product. Go to to order. The price is a bit high but worth it in a supply and demand universe. I liked their stuff so much that I wrote this recipe for them and put it on my blog. But you can use other quality sardines as well. And please note that Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Seafood Watch" lists Pacific sardines (wild caught) as a "super green" choice. We are a serious devotee of Seafood Watch.

This sandwich is a riff on the pan bagnat and it will be “wet.” It’s supposed to be. Have an ample amount of napkins on hand. This recipe makes two sandwiches; one for yourself and one for your spouse or girlfriend when she gets home. Wrapped it will hold well in the refrigerator. —pierino

What You'll Need
  • 2 ciabatta style rolls or the equivalent amount of sections of one ciabatta loaf.
  • 1 four oz can of Cannery Row Sardine Co.™ sardines packed in olive oil or the equivalent in imported tinned sardines.
  • 2 really good anchovy filets (don’t wimp out on me)
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 4 radishes---I like the French Breakfast variety because they grow well for me.
  • Nicoise olives, pitted and sliced (optional)
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Your best olive oil
  1. The process: wash the watercress and maybe use a salad spinner to get water off. Slice the onions and tomato as thin as you can by hand and set aside. If you have a Kyocera hand slicer (remember mine is named Danton) use it to thinly slice the radishes.
  2. Assembly: lay out a large sheet of plastic wrap on a board. Slice the roll in half lengthwise. Put the halves on the cling wrap and scoop out enough of the crumb so that you have two “canoes.” Give both canoes a generous dose of your best olive oil.
  3. Place a good handful of leaves on the first “canoe.” Top this with the sardine and then the anchovies. Add tomatoes and onion in any order you would like. Finish with olives and radishes, all in a big pile. In the other canoe place the remaining cress. And turn over to cover the sandwich.
  4. Wrap it all up in the cling wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Repeat with as many rolls as you have.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tim LaCroix
    Tim LaCroix
  • Hilarybee
  • dymnyno
  • AntoniaJames
  • ChefJune
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

11 Reviews

Tim L. March 11, 2015
You could say cor your boyfriend too....just saying
Hilarybee May 28, 2012
Just discovered this and pulled everything out of the cupboard. We had many anchovy filets, and some sardines with capers packed in olive oil. So the ratio was more anchovy than sardine, truth be told. Didn't have cress, either, so I used really peppery arugula from my garden. It was delicious, though I was kicked out of the house for my smelly sandwich and had to eat it with the birds and garden mint.
dymnyno May 25, 2012
I just noticed this kind of sandwich!!!
AntoniaJames February 24, 2012
Really like the inclusion of watercress and radishes in this! And the olives would not, under any circumstances, be optional in this household. Great, great recipe. ;o)
ChefJune February 24, 2012
How come I've never seen this recipe before now? I would have made it at least 20 times!!! What a great version of Pan Bagnat. I see it in my future very soon.
LeBec F. February 24, 2012
You had me with that Danton comment!(though if you expect more than 1% of any American crowd to get it, you must be pretty scholastically isolated) I am def going to make this and i am not going to wimp out but here's what i will do: I'll share tit for tat- In my mini food processor, i puree 2 cans of drained flat anchovies, add and whip 2 2/3 sticks of unsalted butter. My fav bread spread ever. And this is what i will use on one half of your delicious sandwich. Thnx so much!
pierino February 24, 2012
Le Bec, thank you for your comment. What you may not know is that my mandoline is named Robespierre.
boulangere May 1, 2011
I have a lot of tinned sardines at the moment, and I do believe this is what we'll do with them.
Sagegreen September 30, 2010
Love the Cannery Row!
AntoniaJames January 14, 2010
Love it, Pierino! Am delighted to hear about the Cannery Row Sardines. Will have to check them out next time I'm down that way (alas, not for the next few months due to client demands), but in the meantime, will order online.
lastnightsdinner January 13, 2010
My kind of dish. Well done, sir - and I'm heading over to check out those sardines now.