A Nicoise Classic Pan Bagnat
True Niçoise residents are a combination of French and Italian, but mostly they just love Nissa la Bella and the local food. To some Pan Bagnat might just look like a sandwich, however, to those who have visited Nice it is anything but. This recipe may start with ordinary bread, but it ends with delicious…enough so to catch David’s attention on an airplane and inspire him to make it for a picnic a month later. Below is the Cocoa & Lavender version of Pan Bagnat.
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest divided
- 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp lemon juice divided
- 3 tbsp fennel fronds
- 1 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 5 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 cup light oil olive or canola
- 1/4 cup Crème fraiche
- 1 tbsp Pastis
- 1 red bell pepper roasted, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup Niçoise olives pitted and chopped
- 2 tbsp Capers
- 1 tsp Piment d'esplette (or red pepper flakes)
- 2 6 oz jars tuna packed in oil drained
- 1 Baguette halved lengthwise
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 medium Fennel Bulb shaved paper thin
- 2 heirloom tomatoes thinly sliced
- 2 Kirby (pickling) cucumbers thinly sliced
- 12 white anchovy fillets
- Start by making the mayonnaise.
- Lightly toast the fennel seeds in a dry skillet over medium-low eat until golden.
- Let cool, then grind in a spice grinder.
- Place egg, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, fennel fronds, mustard, salt, pepper, ground fennel, and 3 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
- Purée for 10-15 seconds, or until fennel fronds are finely chopped.
- Then, in a VERY slow and steady stream, with processor running, add the light oil. By the time it is gone, the mixture should be a perfect mayonnaise.
- Place 3/4 cup of the mayonnaise (reserve the rest for another use, like steamed artichokes), the crème fraîche, and Pastis in a medium bowl.
- Mix well and taste for seasoning; add salt and pepper if needed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Next, in another medium bowl, mix roasted red pepper, olives, capers, Piment d'Esplette, and remaining lemon zest and juice.
- Flake in the tuna and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- To make the sandwiches, generously spread both cut sides of the baguette with the fennel mayonnaise.
- Arrange the arugula on the bottom half of the baguette.
- Top with sliced fennel, then the tuna mixture.
- Top with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and white anchovies.
- Place the other half of the bread on top, then slice into four sandwiches.
- Wrap each individually in parchment and tie with twine.
- Keep on ice in a cooler for a couple of hours while you travel to your picnic site.
- Unwrap, and grab a taste of summer heaven. Don't forget to bring plenty of napkins - this is a messy sandwich!