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The History of Pain Bagnat
Bagnat bread originates from the city of Nice in Provence, France.
Pain Bagnat means dried bread or rancid bread in Provençal. It is of a very modest origin, since its appearance was brought about from poor housewives saving their old bread rather than throwing it out by soaking it in water to soften it and make a sandwich. A tomato was added and sometimes even fresh onions and garlic. Its contemporary version is made with a fresh round bread with all the elements of the classic Niçoise salad.
A small (yet critical) piece of advice: to succeed in making a good Pain Bagnat, the quality of the olive oil is paramount.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 large organic red tomato (thick skinned such as Beefsteak or Cherokee purple), sliced moderately thin
2 roasted skinless red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 organic yellow onion, thinly sliced
Two extra-large hard-boiled eggs, sliced to ¼ inch
½ English cucumber, cut into strips
20 black olives, pitted and sliced
6 anchovies in olive oil
4 beautiful organic lettuce leaves (bibb or butterhead recommended)
8 - 10 oz of very fresh red tuna
4 round loaves (can also be made with baguette
Juice from half a lemon
Ground espelette pepper (or pink pepper)
Place black cast iron pan on your stove or bbq over high heat, let the pan heat for 5-6 minutes.
While your pan heats, add a drizzle of olive oil to your tuna steak on a plate. Turn the steak over two or three times so that the oil covers all parts of the tuna well. Lightly salt and pepper both sides. Lower the heat to medium and sear the tuna for 1 minute on each side. Remove and set aside.
Cut the bread in half in the horizontally. Reserve the top part.
Place the bottom half on a cutting board.
Rub both sides of the bread vigorously with the garlic, all over the inside surface
In a small bowl mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and brush onto the bottom half of the bread.
Assemble all elements in successive layers (except lettuce and tuna and anchovies)
Cut your tuna into beautiful half-inch slices.
Place your tuna on the vegetables, then add lettuce leaves and anchovies (2 per sandwich)
Place the top of the bread and squeeze gently. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.
Matchstick French fries.
Bonde wine pairing suggestions: