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Painbagnat & childhood memories

I grew up eating these French classics on the beaches near Nice in the south of France between Nice & Monaco. It's not an elegant sandwich, it's not an English cucumber one, it's messy, fragrant and no two bites are the same and sitting on the beach as a child I would have olive oil everywhere. I'm sure it's why my sister & I were brown bunnies by the end of the summer, it's all thanks to a daily painbagnat on a sandy beach. It holds such great memories, I love this classic from Nice!

A literal meaning for a 'painbagnat' is soaked bread. It's a salad nicoise in a bun, full of herbs and dressing, so when you bite into it, it just oozed salade nicoise and dressing.

So you can make this as a salad or as a painbagnat to take to the beach.

The classic ingredients are:

These would be per person...

1 hard boiled egg

2 tomatoes

1 small tin of tuna, buy the most you can afford, in oil not brine

Capers and Cornichons

A handful of basil & parsley


Salt & Pepper

1 Pain de Campagne (large round crusty roll)

The key is the vinaigrette. Now in Nice, there is only 1 way to make this, you do not change it or tweek it AT ALL. They are very serious about this!

So we'll start with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and fresh black pepper.

Add twice as much red wine vinegar to mustard and mix.

Then pour in twice as much oil to mustard vinegar. Then stir....no need to mix it into an emulsion...no no no

Cut the top off the bread.

Take out all bread inside the loaf. Keep and use it to make bread crumbs

Use some of the dressing to coat the inside of the loaf.

Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl and cover with the remaining dressing.

Start to layer up and fill the loaf.

And fill...

And fill to the top!

Put the lid on and push down.

Wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate.

Now get ready for the beach!!!

This is a whole meal in a sandwich, so that's all you need.

Cut in half and dig in!


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