This is my go-to-salad for a barbecue. It is rather quick to make (once chickpeas are cooked or substituted by tinned) and its bold, punchy flavours pair extremely well with anything grilled or charred: robust skirt steak and herb-marinated lamb, flash-griddled squid (1), red mullet or snapper (2) or as my husband would hasten to point out: sausages & ribs. The chickpeas provide substance as well as a nice bite and take it far away from limp and watery while cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes add crispness and crunch all the way. Seasoned with a little dose of spice and woodsy-ness (3) from wonderful Piment d’espelette, a dash of cumin, parsley and a final flourish of mint and lemon to deliver another boost of freshness. In short, it is the opposite of boring. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →