i’m just going to get right into this sandwich. it’s not a novel sandwich to the internet, and recipe makers i’m sure. but i know my way around a tuna salad, and had never had/made one like this. it all started out a few weekends ago with an episode of the barefoot contessa where she was making a mozzarella pan bagnat (she essentially swapped out the tuna for fresh mozzarella and basil) while amesy napped. frank came home and i was literally salivating as i was telling him about this sandwich. but mostly, i was excited at the prospect of the vinaigrette she made. not only was it wonderful with a mozzarella iteration, but i kept thinking how delicious it would be in so many applications - especially in a beach-y/picnic-y sandwich situation. so, in a nutshell, that’s where this sandwich began.
this tuna salad is mashup of all the great ones i’ve had over the years. in new york, the most prevalent tuna salad you can get is a basic deli version with a ton of mayo. but here in los angeles, i’ve found tuna salad to incorporate all kinds of ingredients, and take on various flavor profiles aside from the gloppy one i had grown up with. there have been ones made with balsamic vinegar, sliced grapes, herbs, and toasted almonds. or another with sliced apples and kalamata olives. this recipe here is mashup of all the tuna salads i’ve come to know and love, all in one serving. so, if you’re a tuna fan i think you’ll love this recipe as much as i do. and if you’re not a tuna lover (like frank), stay for the vinaigrette, and do yourself a favor by making it, and pouring it over all the things!
there are a bunch of components here, but a lot of them can be prepared ahead of time. the sliced veg can be cut a day or 2 ahead of time and stored in the fridge. same goes for the vinaigrette, which can stay in fridge for up to 2 weeks. and the tuna salad is actually more flavorful if you make it the day before. and since the weather is officially warm and even hot in some places, i thought this would be the perfect sammie for a beach day, or an afternoon at the park. i just wrapped them with a bit of parchment, stuffed them in a lidded container, and was ready to go. nothing better than a breezy sandwich for the beginnings of the summer season ✌🏼
hope you enjoy the recipes, even if you’re just making the vinaigrette! xo
NIÇOISE SANDWICH (AKA PAN BAGNAT) | GF
if you’re vegan, i could see this vinaigrette going wonderfully into a chopped/smashed chickpea mix, or perhaps another white bean of choice.
a gluten free boule or baguette would ideal here. there is quite a bit of runny bits (thanks to the vinaigrette), and a basic sandwich bread mostly likely won’t hold up.
| makes 4-6 sandwiches |
vinaigrette (adapted from ina garten)
3 tablespoons minced shallots (roughly 1 large shallot or 2 small)
1 large garlic clove, grated over a microplane (or minced)
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon drained capers
fine salt & fresh ground pepper
gluten-free boule, or baguette (or bread of choice)
two 5-ounce cans wild-caught tuna
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
2-3 tablespoons avocado mayonaise (optional)
2 sprigs thyme, leaves chopped
1/4-1/3 cup vinaigrette
fine salt & fresh pepper
extra sandwich fixings
peeled cucumber slices
thinly sliced tomatoes
thinly sliced red onion
make the vinaigrette. in medium-sized bowl, whisk together the shallots, garlic, vinegars, and dijon. drizzle in the olive oil whisking briskly until emulsified. stir in the olives and capers, and season with salt & pepper. set aside.
assemble the sandwiches. in a large bowl, chop the tuna with the back of a sturdy fork. mix in the almonds, mayo (if using), and thyme. add 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, if tuna is still looking dry, add the remaining vinaigrette. taste and season with more salt & pepper if needed.
slice the bread lengthwise. scoop out the doughy parts of the bread making room for all your ingredients. top one half with arugula and a good drizzle of vinaigrette, making sure to scoop some of the solids at the bottom (olives, shallots, capers, etc.) . spoon a good portion of the tuna over top. then top with sliced tomato, red onion, and cucumber. drizzle the other half of the bread with more vinaigrette. let the sandwiches sit for 30 minutes-1 hour, letting the all the flavors to blend.
serve immediately, or wrap in parchment for a picnic or beach day :) (pro-tip: serve with salty potato chips and dill pickles 👍🏼)