Pan bagnat

Pan bagnat

recipe in English & auf Deutsch (s. u.)

Pan bagnat is by far the best picnic food, beach or summer outing sandwich EVER. Once tried, you will not get enough of it (might as well join the pan bagnat appreciation & defense society right now). Originating from the South of France, Nice to be precise, this filled bread shares a lot of ingredients with the eponymous & equally iconic Salade Niçoise – like everything else: the amount & preciousness of the filling used to depend on your affluence. Like other recipes Pan bagnat started out as a way of using old bread: refreshing hard & stale bread with an invigorating bath (pan bagnat is literally ‘bathed bread’).

Other than steeping bread in liquid as in Pappa al pomodoro the outside of the whole loaf is sprinkled with a little water, juicy tomatoes and other garden vegetables (what is not abundantly in season at the Côte d’Azur??) moisten the inside of the bread. Being mainly a vegetable or vegetarian sandwich with small black olives, basil, green peppers, little onions (cébettes), fava beans, cucumbers etc. either anchovies or tuna are added, never both at the same time. Having tuna & egg together, pure luxury. Just a tiny drizzle of olive oil, no vinegar, no salad leaves.

These days, the pan bagnat rules are a less strict and people more affluent can combine tuna & anchovies & egg. Feeling bold (and a little anarchic), we’ll have green olives and red onion, even fresh bread since we rarely have a whole stale loaf lurking in the bread bin. But those are not really serious obstacles to overcome in order to get to picnic nirvana and if you are like me an aficionado of the squished & squeezed bread (ski-lifts work wonders here), you’ll feel right at home with its French summer cousin.

Pan bagnat

Pan bagnat

Servings & ingredients depend on the size of your loaf

1 long country loaf, rustic white bread or ciabatta
1 garlic clove
good olive oil (adjust, to the amount of oil from the tuna)
1-2 tins of tuna (line-caught, in olive oil), drained or use this oil & forgo the other
1-2 ripe tomatoes (San Marzano or Cœur de Bœuf), sliced
½ cucumber, sliced
½ red pepper, sliced
olives (black or good filled green olives are fine too), pitted & sliced
½ red onion (or cébettes = white bulb of a spring onion), thinly sliced
anchovies (optional)
2 eggs, hard-cooked, sliced
sea salt & black pepper
red chilli flakes (optional)


Cut your loaf horizontally into a top and a bottom. Rub each (in)side with the freshly cut garlic clove (might need to cut several times) and drizzle with a little olive oil. Spread the tuna onto the bottom, add layers of tomato slices, cucumber, pepper, onions, olives, basil, anchovies (if used) and egg. Season with a healthy amount of sea salt & black pepper, add a few red chilli flakes to taste. Cover with the top half and press together. Wrap tightly in tin foil, place into a roasting pan or other receptacle (its sides will provide stability to the following construction), add a big chopping board & all your cast-iron pots, heavy weights, books, children (or what you have on hand) and compress for a few hours. Then cool until use: Unwrap carefully, cut the filled loaf into slices and serve. For a picnic, rewrap those sandwiches in wax paper, secure with a piece of decorative string and keep cooled until you have reached your destination. Enjoy!


Pan bagnat

Portionen und Mengen richten sich nach der Größe des Brotes

1 rustikales Baguette, Pain campagne, Filone rustico oder Ciabatta (500g)
1 Knoblauchzehe
gutes Olivenöl (die Menge je nach Öl im Thunfisch anpassen)
1-2 Dosen Thunfisch in Olivenöl (line-caught), abgetropft oder nicht (je nach Ölwahl)
1-2 reife Tomaten (San Marzano oder Ochsenherz / Cœur de Bœuf), in Scheiben
½ Gurke, in Scheiben geschnitten
½ rote (oder grüne oder gelbe) Paprika, in Streifen geschnitten
schwarze Oliven (auch gute grüne Manzanilla mit Paprika sind hier lecker), entsteint und gedrittelt
½ rote Zwiebel (oder 2 cébettes = weiße Knolle der Frühlingszwiebel), in dünnen Scheiben
Sardellen / Anchovies (nach Belieben)
4-6 große Basilikumblätter
2 hartgekochte Eier, in Scheiben
Meersalz & schwarzer Pfeffer
rote Chilli flocken (nach Geschmack)


Den Brotlaib horizontal in zwei Hälften teilen, jede Seite mit der frischen Schnittfläche der Knoblauchzehe einreiben (mehrfach anschneiden) und mit ein wenig (!) Olivenöl beträufeln. Die Unterseite zuerst mit dem zerpflückten Thunfisch belegen, dann mit Lagen aus Tomatenscheiben, Gurken, Paprika, Oliven, Zwiebeln, Sardellen (wenn gewünscht), Basilkum, Ei fortfahren und anschließend würzen. Die Oberseite auflegen und zusammendrücken. Das gefüllte Brot in eng Alufolie wickeln, in eine Auflaufform oder ähnliches legen (die Seiten stabilisieren den Turm) und anschließend ein Brett und schwere Töpfe, Bücher, Gewichte oder auch Kinder daraufsetzen und das Brot so ein paar Stunden pressen. Danach bis zum Gebrauch kühlen: das Brot vorsichtig auswickeln und in Sandwiches schneiden oder für ein Picknick in Wachspapier einschlagen und mit einem hübschen Band zubinden. Viel Spaß!



One thought on “Pan bagnat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.