Pan Bagna

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    2–4

    .

Appears in

French Country Kitchen

French Country Kitchen

By Geraldene Holt

Published 1987

  • About

This is the well-known sandwich of the south of France. Sad to say, but I feel that pan bagna never tastes quite as good anywhere else. But the sandwich is still worth making in Britain, in a hot summer. Pan bagna is ideal for a picnic and children love assembling and especially squashing one. In France a flûte makes a better pan bagna, a baguette is too narrow. For a large number of people I use country bread, like pain de seigle, which is baked in a round or oval shape. These thicker loaves are best cut in three or four layers to make a three- or four-fold pan bagna.

Method

Cut the flûte into two layers, rub a clove of garlic over both cut surfaces and dribble a good fruity olive oil over them.

Now build the filling on one half of the loaf: make a layer of sliced tomato and strew a few torn leaves of basil on top, then perhaps some very thinly sliced salami or saucisson sec, but remember to take off the skin first, some anchovy fillets always go well and a few stoned black olives for a true taste of the Midi. Then add whatever items you feel would improve the sandwich, bearing in mind what you have already included.

Place the other half of the loaf on top and wrap the sandwich in foil and then in a clean teacloth. Place the pan bagna on the kitchen table or at the bottom of a cool box or picnic basket. Arrange some books, stones or other moderately heavy weights on top and leave for up to 1 hour, until the filling is pressed into the bread and the flavours of each have blended together. For serving, cut the pan bagna into sections.