Pain Bagnat is a sandwich from the Nice area of France. There are different variations of the sandwich, and it was traditionally made with day old bread soaked with oil and filled with ingredients similar to a salad nicoise. The sandwich was typically filled and then compressed overnight. This a little bit lighter version of the sandwich, brushed lightly with oil and garlic and filled with tuna salad (never any mayo in a pain bagnat), herbs, olives, artichoke hearts and bell pepper.
The tuna salad here is not the typical mayo based tuna salad we eat in the US. It is made from tuna mixed with olive oil, sliced olives, chopped artichoke hearts, crumbled feta, lemon and salt and pepper. It is served on baguette with sliced red bell pepper, basil, parsley and red onion. This sandwich has a ton of flavor, but it isn’t heavy. I did not make these ahead of time and compress overnight, although I think I will try that next time to allow the flavors to meld more. You probably do want day old bread if doing that though so it won’t get too soggy.
Some versions of this sandwich also include hard boiled eggs, green beans, or red wine vinegar. It is open for some adaptations to your food preferences. I enjoyed this combination of ingredients that I used here.
Pain Bagnat (French Tuna Sandwich)
- 1 large baguette
- 1 clove garlic cut in half
- olive oil
- basil and parsley leaves
- 2 cans tuna
- 1 cup sliced kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 jar artichoke hearts chopped
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil more to taste
- salt and pepper
- Cut the baguette length wise and scoop out some of the bread so that you have room for the fillings. Rub the inside of the bread with the cut garlic and brush it with olive oil.
- Mix the tuna, lemon juice, olive oil, olives, artichokes, feta and some salt and pepper to taste for the tuna salad.
- Line the bread with basil and parsley leaves. Spoon some tuna salad on top and then top with the sliced pepper and onion. Close up the bread and serve!