Nicoise Tuna Sandwich: Pan Bagnat

Note: This tuna sandwich is all about olive oil. Use the French stuff if possible; otherwise, any mild olive oil will do?save that fancy[ super-Tuscan for something else. The tuna and the bread are crucial, too. Forget about tuna packed in water. It's flavorless. You want the kind packed in olive (not vegetable) oil. We thought ortiz's Bonito del Norte, newly exported from Spain, was the closest thing to Ni?se tuna, but it can be tough to find. (We ordered ours from Citarella; 212-874-0384.) Of the brands commonly available in the United States, we preferred Progresso light tuna. Other brands of canned light tuna that we are fond of are Genova and La Giara. This last is very expensive?about $10?and is available at many specialty foods shops and by mail order from Citarella.]

Total Time:
30 min
Prep:
15 min
Cook:
15 min

Yield:
2 sandwiches
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 1/4 of white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional
  • Black pepper
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil (see note) including olive oil
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 Kaiser rolls, plain
  • Lettuce leaves, combination of Boston, green leaf, or other green leafy lettuce
  • 8 tomato slices
  • 6 to 8 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4 anchovy fillets, drained
  • Nicoise olives, pitted
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Radishes, sliced
Directions
  • Combine the red and white onion with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a bowl. Using your hands, mix and squeeze everything together for 5 minutes. (Don't rush through this part; the onions need time to release their juices and mellow.)

  • Work in tuna in olive oil, including the oil. Season with fresh lemon juice, red-wine vinegar, and salt, then add pepper to taste.

  • Cut kaiser rolls in half crosswise and spread each bottom half with lettuce leaves. Use a couple of varieties—whatever looks good—for the difference in texture.

  • On top of each lettuce layer, arrange 4 tomato slices (skip this step if you don't have good—really good—tomatoes on hand). Then add about half the tuna mixture and 3 to 4 slices of hard-boiled egg.

  • Crisscross each sandwich with 2 drained anchovy fillets and strew with Nicoise olives, chopped scallion greens, and sliced radishes. Then drizzle generously with more olive oil and top with the remaining kaiser halves, pressing gently but firmly.


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