Food You Can Eat: Pan Bagnat

Dedicated to the poor unfortunates who won't be summering on the French Riviera this year

Image via Femme Actuelle

Here’s a money-saving tip for your next visit to the French Riviera: have an ever-present pan bagnat for lunch. They’re basically salade Niçoise in a sandwich form and they are everywhere. They are pretty healthy and cheap; they’re basically street food but you shouldn’t really eat one while walking around. Head to a park or a bench and chow down. I am doing this recipe from memory because I’ve been to the French Riviera much more often than I would believe, and whenever I get within 100 miles of Nice this is my default lunch. (On the Italian side I normally get pizza. Liguria, the province where the Italian Riviera is, is not known for its pizza, but to American taste buds it is far superior to most of what you get stateside.)

Well, that was interesting, but can we get to the sandwich? Yes, of course. This makes 2 sandwiches. I’m guessing the amounts involved.


In Nice it’s most common to use a crusty round Italian (go figure) loaf, not too huge, 8 or 9 inches across, or sometimes a full-length baguette. Slice in half to make a top and a bottom. Brush each side with olive oil. (“Pan Bagnat” means “wet” or “bathed bread” in Niçoise.) Assemble however you want, with basil leaves, the contents of one can of tuna, slices of 2 hard-boiled eggs, some sliced (not diced) onion, and some thinly sliced tomato. Add whole anchovies and small pitted black olives. Salt and pepper to your taste. Top with the other half of the loaf or the baguette.

When ready to eat slice the baguette or Italian loaf in half crosswise. Those are your two sandwiches. Bon appétit! See you on the Avenue Jean Médecin! If you actually go to Nice and grab a pan bagnat, head to the Mediterranean-facing Promenade des Anglais, and snag one of the benches.



  1. Looks great in the photo, and simple to make.

    • Not simple to eat, though! If you are eating this en plein air, like on a bench or at a picnic, wrap the bottom of the sandwich in some butcher paper so it forms kind of a cone around the pan bagnat, à la française. 

      • I should also say that I have made these myself a few times, using my Niçoise memories, so this does work.

  2. Since this is my own post I’m going to steer away from the topic a little bit. Tonight I’m going to make my first recipe from the Sinatra Celebrity Cookbook. I’ll be making Elizabeth Taylor’s Spicy Chicken. Hint: It’s not that spicy. But I’m going to give it a shot in the interest of maybe getting a FYCE post out of it. I was going to make Neil Sedaka’s Voodoo Chicken (I have absolutely NO idea why it’s called this; you might suspect some kind of Caribbean influence but the only even mildly exotic ingredient is soy sauce…?) but I thought for my inaugural foray I should dedicate it to Elizabeth Taylor. 

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