Provencal Tuna Sandwich

Pour bien cuisiner il faut de bons ingrédients, un palais, du coeur et des amis. ..
To cook well you need good ingredients, a palace, a heart, and some friends.

I picked up yet another “French Cooking for Beginners” cookbook (like I need another cookbook) and I chose a good sandwich on a hot day. I just love the idea of the “Pan Bagnat Tuna Sandwich” for dinner as I was not the least bit inclined to heat an oven or a grill. Basic summer farm stand vegetables, a jar of Italian tuna in olive oil or two, and a loaf of ciabatta or individual ciabatta rolls are easily found in the grocery store bakery departments. Depending how many people you are serving use 1 or two jars of tuna…the recipe below serves 4 sandwich lovers. I made enough for two so I did scale back the ingredients for two ciabatta rolls for our wonderfully sloppy sandwiches.

Prep all of the ingredients ahead and start your little assembly line a fun project for guest to join in or herd up those grand children to have a great hands on cooking experience. This sandwich is perfect for a make ahead boating or beach day lunch. Wrap the sandwiches in parchment paper and again in plastic wrap and a large zip bag further protects them in a cooler.

1 loaf ciabatta bread or 4 individual rolls, cut in half lengthwise
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
1 bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
8 ounces Italian tuna packed in olive oil, undrained
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced 1 romaine heart, bottom trimmed and separated into leaves
8 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
10 pitted black olives
1 garlic clove, mashed
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Set the bread in front of you and rub 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the cut side of the bread. Less oil of course for smaller sandwiches.

2. Arrange the tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper over the bottom half of the bread in that order. Break the tuna up over the vegetables, then top with the eggs, romaine, basil, and olives.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste until well mixed, then pour it over the sandwich. Top with the other half of the bread. Cut into quarters and dig in. Or wrap tightly for the take-along-version.

TIP: If you want to further anger the purists, spread Aïoli (here) over the bread after rubbing it with the olive oil before assembling the sandwich.

Slightly adapted from de Mélogue, François. French Cooking for Beginners: 75+ Classic Recipes to Cook Like a Parisian (pp. 101-102). Rockridge Press. Kindle Edition.