This doesn't happen often, but some sandwiches actually taste better when they're made ahead of time, when the ingredients mingle and marry over time and soak their juices into sturdy bread to soften it just enough (the most important part is sturdy bread—soggy bread is at the bottom of most people's list of what's delicious). It's true of the classic New Orleans muffaletta, and it's true of this delicious concoction hailing from Nice, France, which I stumbled on it flipping through The Ethical Gourmet.
Like the muffaletta, olives play an important role in this sandwich, alongside diced green pepper, red onion radishes, fresh basil, tomato, and artichokes. Slices of hard-boiled egg and little anchovies finish it off. It sounds like a lot, but in the same way that the Niçoise salad is greater than the sum of its parts (the ingredients are actually pretty similar), so it is with the Pan Bagnat. If you're not too keen on anchovies, tuna would be a perfect substitute.
- 1 baguette
- Olive oil as needed
- 1/4 cup black Niçoise olives, pitted and finely chopped
- 12 large basil leaves
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 radishes, sliced
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 canned artichoke hearts
- 3 large eggs, hardboiled and sliced
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
- 12 anchovy fillets, drained
Using a serrated knife, spit the baguette lengthwise and pull out a good amount of the baguette's interior from both sides, leaving the crusty exterior. Drizzle both halves with olive oil.
Lay the olives on the bottom half of the baguette and lay the basil leaves over them.
In a medium bowl, combine the pepper, onion, radishes, lemon juice, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
Spoon the pepper mixture onto the sandwich, then top with the artichokes, egg, tomato, and anchovies.
Close the sandwich, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or even longer. Slice and serve.