I was looking for ways to use hard boiled eggs when I came across a recipe for pan bagnat. According to Wikipedia it’s a sandwich from Nice, France. In the local dialect, the name translates as wet bread. You stack the ingredients on the bread, after removing enough to make a trench, then pour the dressing over it, and set it aside for some time.
French dips, hot roast beef with gravy, even some people’s French toast, are just not my style. I’m not much for soggy bread but the sandwich sounded really good otherwise! That’s when I realized I could turn it into a salad. I thought about leaving the bread completely out and calling it something else. But while this recipe was percolating in the back of my mind, I started thinking more about bread. Most recipes that combine liquid with bread are an effort to revive stale bread. Until fairly recently most bread was much thicker and coarser than what we normally eat. The bread normally used for the sandwich is a crusty wheat bread; this was starting to make sense. I decided to give it a try. I still don’t know if I would like the sandwich but the salad was right tasty! The bread absorbed just enough dressing that it was damp but not soggy.
Market of Choice carries a demi baguette that I adore (just big enough for two servings). However, I didn’t use it right away and it became stale. I won’t say I could’ve drove nails with it, but it was close. If you use stale bread, please be careful cutting it!
Pan Bagnat Salad
2 Dinner Salads or 4 Side Salads
Zest and juice of a small lemon, about 1 ½ Tbsp. juice
2 tsp. olive oil
Pinch black pepper
Pinch Italian seasoning
Pinch dried powdered garlic
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups cubed bread
½ cup halved oil cured black olives or kalamata olives
½ cup sliced dried tomatoes
½ cup diced red onion
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts
2 oz. jar diced pimientos, drained
2 oz. can anchovies, cut in half
3 boiled eggs, chopped
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic; set aside.
In a salad bowl combine all ingredients except the eggs. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss the salad. Make sure all the bread pieces come in contact with the dressing. Arrange the eggs on top of the salad and serve. Enjoy!