Steinbeck Bagnat

January 13, 2010
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

  • Serves 1
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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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.