Thirty Minute Thursdays: Tuna Pan Bagnat

Finally, a Thursday that doesn’t zip right by without a Thirty Minute Thursday post! I even refrained from updating yet again yesterday to make this moment even more epic. Has your withdrawal been too miserable? I have a feeling all of the blog-o-sphere giveaways, holiday foods and Christmas cheer have been enough to keep you occupied.

I feel a little non-conformist and perhaps even a little out of touch for posting a recipe that does not start with “c” and end with “ookie,” I have to admit. In fact, the only dessert recipe I’ve made from Rachael Ray’s book so far has been a banana bread, and that was a bust. I should probably pick out some sweeter treats to try, especially now that it’s The Dessert Season, right? Until I get around to doing that, though, this tuna sandwich will have to suffice.

Going into the recipe, I knew nothing about a “pan bagnat,” which believe it or not, is French. I did a little research and found out that it originates in Nice, and if I had paid more attention to the ingredients (basically a Salade Nicoise tucked inside a baguette) I probably could have figured that out on my own. I even wrote in my notes, “this would be good as a salad, too.” Go figure. All I knew when I started to make it was that it sounded delicious, and delicious it most certainly turned out to be.

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s be honest – I probably butchered the classic Tuna Pan Bagnat until it was anything but traditional, but I still liked it. It was easy to make, really simple, and even – dare I say it around this time of year? – healthy. The lemon was refreshing, the bread crunchy and chewy at the same time, and the filling mildly salty without going to any extremes. Below you’ll see the Tuna Pan Bagnat as I made it, which really just means you won’t see any olives, anchovies, or capers in it (got an idea of why it wasn’t wildly salty when I made it?), and I’m pretty sure I sacrilegiously used a crusty Italian loaf instead of French bread. Oops.

One Year Ago Today: Cannelini-Mushroom Crostini

Tuna Pan Bagnat, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Classic Thirty Minute Meals
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
4 fairly long, wide sandwich-worthy hunks of crusty bread
13 ounces tuna in water, drained
½ red onion, chopped
15 ounces artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped
½ cup sun dried tomatoes, not packed in oil, chopped
¼ - ⅓ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
½ - 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

The Method
Preheat the oven to 400°.1 Once preheated, crisp the bread in the oven for 1-2 minutes, then set aside until cool enough to handle. Split each chunk in half and hollow out some of the soft insides to allow for more room for the filling.

Lightly mash or separate the tuna with a fork in a bowl before adding in the red onion, artichokes tomatoes, parsley, and thyme. Drizzle in the lemon juice and add the vinegar and black pepper. Finally, stir in the oil and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Pack ¼ of the filling into each chunk of bread and press down to allow the bread to set around the filling and begin to soak up the liquid.

1Because I only had one, I used the toaster oven to conserve heat and energy (and, of course, time).


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