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
On loaf of French bread, a baguette or a batard wide enough to contain this mess
to 2 cans of tuna packed in olive oil (this matters—I use As Do Mar or Ortiz), about 150 grams in total weight
to 3 really good anchovy filets (don’t wimp out on me)
sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
fresh, vine ripened tomato
bunch basil or substitute watercress
radishes, French breakfast radishes preferred
handful of Nicoise olives, pitted and sliced
Your best olive oil*
In This Recipe
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).
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.
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.
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.
*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.
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.