Making A Provencal “Pan Bagnat!” My “52 In 22” Cooking Challenge Has Patricia Wells Making Nice!

Who Wants A Sandwich?

More precisely, who wants a “Pan Bagnat?”

It’s a sandwich so culturally important that one city has rules on how you are allowed to make it!

Patricia Wells Knows How To Cook!

This pile of cookbooks proves it!

For week #8 of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge, I went to one of my favorite people, who also happened to be an incredible Chef!

That’s Patrica’s cookbook on top of the first stack of cookbooks I chose for the beginning of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge…let me explain why I chose something a little different when it was time to cook Patricia’s food:

As you heard, I own so many of her cookbooks that I couldn’t have gone any direction!

For those who read and watched me cook FOR THREE DAYS last week to make The French Laundry’s “Sous Vide Lobster with Bone Marrow, Mushrooms, Pearl Onion and Carrot” recipe, you can see that this is a much easier dish – but no less delicious!

A French Kitchen utilizes the ingredients of the region, and in the south of France, this sandwich utilizes all of nature’s bounty!

The traditional ingredients shown above include heirloom tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, anchovies, red bell pepper and kalamata olives – but in its simplicity comes incredible flavor and history as well!

Nice France is considered home to this beloved French staple….you see, “pan banhat” and the alternative spelling “pan bagnat” mean “bathed bread”.

The sandwich was popularized in the 19th century, when Nice fisherman would carry it with them when fishing in the Mediterranean Sea.

And speaking of bread:

The best bread is a Baguette, with a filling soft enough that the ingredients will indeed “bathe” it…and the process begins by slicing the loaf lengthwise…

I used an olive loaf, and tore out big chunks of the soft center, making room for my ingredients…Patricia suggests that you save the interior bread and toast it for breadcrumbs!

Next, I put two glass jars of Tuna fillets in a bowl – and very important: you want the Tuna that is packed in oil, as that is an important part of the recipe – remember, we are going to “bathe”!

Slice a Red Bell Pepper lengthwise in thin strips, then peel your hard-boiled eggs and slice them as well…I used one entire bell pepper and three eggs:

Once the hard-boiled eggs are sliced, do the same with your Kalamata Olives – I do them lengthwise as well, and unpack your Marinated Anchovies:

Now, it was time to have some fun and put this sandwich together:

Look at this! The interior is stuffed with the messy, oily mixture, which I gave a nice salt-and-pepper to as well…I overloaded the sandwich so it formed a mound…

I am ready to dig in and enjoy it – but not so fast!

You see, this beautiful sandwich has one more step in the recipe, and that involves some aluminum foil and a heavy heavy brick!

Patricia is clear about two things: first, wrap the sandwich in tin foil and put it in the refrigerator, with a heavy object pressing down on it…that will help the bread absorb the oil in the tuna!

Her second point: this sandwich is supposed to be a messing affair: the filling should fall out when you eat it!

After several hours in the refrigerator, covered with a heavy pot, I took the sandwich out and here’s how it went:

So, how did it taste?

Well, “simple” doesn’t have to be a negative when it comes to food: it’s delicious! I love Tuna, and the crisp bell pepper, creamy egg, pop of olive flavor and of course, the salty burst of sardine was delicious, and it was wet enough to feel messy and almost wrong in a way!

My goal with the “52 In 22” cooking challenge is to pay tribute to some of the great Chefs and Cookbook Authors I’ve met – and Patricia’s many cookbooks will give me more opportunities to cook from her books…

This colorful sandwich feel like the south of France, with the bright yellow egg yolk, the red bell pepper, kalamata olives the color of a great provencal red wine, and the freshness of the tuna and anchovies give it the taste of the sea…

That’s Patricia on the right…Alex and I got to cook at her provencal home and yes, that is Julia Child’s provencal stove we are leaning on – Julia gave it to her as they were close friends!

We cooked with her and husband Walter, an incredible cooking class at her home that you can see more of by clicking on my story here:

It was the perfect mix of food and travel…and I am trying to make recipes that capture a culture as well as flavors….the Pan Bagnat sandwich took us back to Provence and a culture of delicious food – speaking of which:

What about this Italian Meatball?

I made the famous recipe from New York’s Rao’s restaurant, and I made their Marinara a sauce as well – click here to see how I did!

Those Meatballs took me to Italy with every bite!

Speaking of comforting, how about a nice slice of pie:

A “Duck, Pancetta, Cabbage and Mustard” One!

Yes, I proved that not all pie is sweet – but incredibly savory in this case!

It was one of my “52 In 22” cooking challenges and you can see how it turned out here:

If you enjoy these posts, why not subscribe and never miss out? It’s easy, and there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like – from music to movies, books, travel, food and more…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…

As for my “52 Cookbooks 52 Recipes” challenge, I am sharing and storing all of these recipes on my food website “Bite! Eat! Repeat!”

It’s your site for all things food – if you like what you see, please click on my link and follow this blog as well!

Let me know what you think of my “52 In 22” challenge!

If you like the story, share it with friends on social media! Enjoy your Pan Bagnat!

Categories: Books / Media, cookbooks, Exotic Travel, Food, food blog, Food Review, Memoirs, Recipes, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Wacky Food

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17 replies

  1. Did I read pickled lemons yum..You are definitely finding some different recipes, John I am enjoying this series!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely need to have a meal with you…as long as you do the cooking. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi John, you are certainly finding some interesting and varied recipes for this challenge. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yes, yes, I would love to try this, mess and all! how cool that both had a chance to cook in her kitchen. I love regional cooking, it makes the most sense to me, using the local foods and making the very best of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That sandwich looks amazing. Something I would love. Messy is Ok!


  6. John, I would love to eat something like that, but I am not fan of Tuna. I might just leave that fish out, and eat the rest with those anchovies instead.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This sandwich looks heavenly! It reminds me of Tunisian sandwiches that I had growing up from a small corner store in a dusty desert city in Israel. It also had a bit of harissa and pickled lemons. My mouth waters when I think about it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Making “Crusty Chicken” With Jacques Pepin! My “52 In 22” Cooking Challenge Honors This Master Chef’s Obsession With The Bird! – johnrieber

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