Pan Bagnat with Radish and Tuna

September  5, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Serenity starts in the pantry. I firmly believe that, if you keep high quality ingredients in your pantry you can make amazing meals with little effort. However this recipe takes advantage of ingredients like very sweet onions; and your very best radishes. The radishes are the soprano to the tuna’s baritone in this opera.
This sandwich will be “wet.” It’s supposed to be. Have an ample amount of napkins on hand. - pierino

Test Kitchen Notes

Part of the beauty of a well-crafted pan bagnat lies in the simplicity of its ingredients and pierino’s version is a wonderful ode to just that. He artfully combines the inherent goodness of a few key things and doesn’t overcomplicate it. And that, along with his call for some whisper thin radishes and a great olive oil, truly make your taste buds dance! In fact, if you were to close your eyes and take a bite, you may just think you were off picnicking somewhere in Nice along the Cote d’Azur. – TiggyBee —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 On loaf of French bread, a baguette or a batard wide enough to contain this mess
  • 1 to 2 cans of tuna packed in olive oil (this matters—I use As Do Mar or Ortiz), about 150 grams in total weight
  • 2 to 3 really good anchovy filets (don’t wimp out on me)
  • 1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
  • 1 fresh, vine ripened tomato
  • 1 bunch basil or substitute watercress
  • 5 radishes, French breakfast radishes preferred
  • 1 handful of Nicoise olives, pitted and sliced
  • Your best olive oil*
  1. The process: wash the basil (cress) and use a salad spinner or clean towel to get the 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 very thinly slice the radishes or use the mandoline (Robespierre).
  2. Assembly: lay out a large sheet of plastic wrap on a board. Slice the loaf 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 basil leaves on the first “canoe.” Top this with the tuna 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 basil. And turn over to cover the sandwich.
  4. Wrap it all up in the cling wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Great for those days when you don’t want to turn on the oven. Like today for example. Put on your espadrilles.
  5. *If I ever hear any of you use the term “EVOO” you will be permanently off the recipe list. Why? Because even though Rachael Ray has her own labled brand she doesn’t even know what it Extra Virgin means. And I’m flat out serious. The world must be saved from this evil woman. Let’s get started! Myself, I like to use a Spanish style oil made from arbequina olives. There are now several Californial brands.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • pierino
  • zoemetro uk
    zoemetro uk
  • AntoniaJames
  • testkitchenette
  • drbabs
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.

16 Reviews

pierino September 28, 2011
zoemetrouk, unfortunately there are no swaps that I can think of on this one. The traditional recipe calls for poached scallops of veal, I just turned it a bit inside out. I can't think of another protein flavor combination that would match up with the tonnato. Chicken, no. Turkey, no. Tofu, absolutely no. I thought about it but couldn't come with anything.
zoemetro U. September 28, 2011
Made this last weekend for friends at the beach-and the crowds raved. Thank you. My husband is now an Ortiz addict. Any other divine recipes you have up your sleeve? Most every online post seems to say just eat it out of the jar--but I need something a bit more elaborate for the table. Thank you again pierino. P.S. Don't get me started on Rachel Ray!
pierino September 28, 2011
When you are not bringing food to the beach you might try a white bean salad with thinly sliced onion, oil, tuna and black pepper. That's pretty much it. And it can all be done from the pantry. Although speaking of the beach, in Positano I enjoyed a very simple quick fired pizza topped with tomato and tuna. Now, I'd be tempted to throw some olives and capers on there too...
zoemetro U. September 28, 2011
I was wondering about the pizza idea. We will try it tonight. The white bean salad is a fine thought as well. I also had have my eye on your tuna meatballs. Could we switch the veal out for something else? The mister has an aversion to veal. Thank you again.
pierino September 24, 2010
Thanks Tiggy for actually taking it for a test drive. And you are right it's a south of France thing: good bread, good tuna, good oil. And really good radishes. What else do you need?
TiggyBee September 24, 2010
It was my pleasure Pierino! I have to admit that I've now made it twice! It's outrageously wonderful!! I took a picture of it too, if you'd like me to add, let me know..
PS. I'd eat this if it were packed in a lunch box! ; )
AntoniaJames September 9, 2010
Pierino, what are the names of the producers of the California arbequina oils? We're heavy consumers of good Spanish oils here, but I really like staying local too, and particularly want to support anyone in CA growing olives to produce a nice Spanish style oil. Thank you. And I applaud your inclusion of the instruction to wrap this baby up and let it sit for a while. You really know how to cook. ;o)
pierino September 9, 2010
I've noticed that using arbequinos is something of a trend right now. One I tasted at the Olive Festival in Paso Robles was labeled "Fandango". Most of these will be small production so you just have to go out and taste for yourself. But I believe that right now California olive oils are about where California wines were in the '70's. I tasted a really good oil from Napa last year which I believe was "Olio Nuovo".
testkitchenette September 9, 2010
This sounds great and is in the tradition of Amanda describing in her CFMrLte book the tapas she had at Quimet and Quimet in Spain using amazing preserved goods!
drbabs September 6, 2010
Love this.
pierino September 5, 2010
In the early days of the Rachael Show on Food Network she was once yammering away about what "extra virgin" means she said, "that just means it's unfiltered". Clearly she had no clue as to the correct definition. But she still puts her name on the bottle.
thirschfeld September 8, 2010
and all this time I thought Evoo was the girl robots name on Wall-E. I was thinking the same thing and was going to post something on EVOO and how much I do not like that term.
lapadia September 5, 2010
Speaking of "EVOO" the world must be saved from more than one woman; Interesting bottled olive oil article found online for: fraudulently labeled as Extra-Virgin vs. accurately labeled as Extra-Virgin…click on the link and scroll down.
lapadia September 5, 2010
oops, hate when I do that, here is the link!...
pierino September 5, 2010
I love growing radishes. They are wonderful to have on hand and I offer them as gifts. At one point there were organic seeds for French breakfast radishes in the food52 "shop" but at the time I tried to order them they were out of stock. Anyway, something very nice to pluck out of your front garden.
lapadia September 5, 2010
You are lucky to be able to grow radishes, I have tried a few years in a row and haven't been very successful, live in the PacNW area, five acres mostly wooded, so I am lucky to get anything!