April is National Grilled Cheese Month, so we’re celebrating by posting a grilled cheese sandwich every day. This is No. 13. See all of our grilled cheese sandwiches >> here << .
It may not be Dollar Filet o’ Fish Friday, but this version of a “tuna melt” as close as it will ever get around here…
We took Pan Bagnat, added cheese, and grilled it to make a sandwich for today. Pan Bagnat is essentially a fancy-ish French version of a tuna sandwich. Except that the tuna isn’t mixed up with mayonnaise and spread between two slices of white bread; it is layered with hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, and other vegetables onto bread that has been soaked with olive oil and vinegar.
So actually, it’s nothing like an American tuna sandwich. At all.
It’s just a Pan Bagnat, and it came to mind not really for the tuna aspect, but because we had leftover hard boiled eggs. Unlike so many people who use up leftover hard boiled eggs by chopping them up and making egg salad, we go the way of a different salad, Salade Niçoise. If you take the ingredients of Salade Niçoise and throw them onto a baguette, you have Pan Bagnat. Defile that fish based sandwich with some meltable cheese and you have a Pan Bagnat Grilled Cheese.
The recipe is below the next picture. We went fairly “traditional,” (whatever that means in this scenario) and just drizzled a anchovy/garlic red wine vinaigrette on the bread and let it soak for a bit. However, if you happen to have, say, a little bit of olive tapenade, which is made with anchovies, garlic, capers, and olives, spread that onto the bread instead (or in addition, if you’re a flavor freak like that). We’re going to do that next time.
Pan Bagnat Grilled Cheese
makes 1 sandwich
1-2 anchovies, finely minced (if you can, crush it to a paste)
½ small clove garlic, finely minced
splash of red wine vinegar
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 6- to 8-inch length of a baguette
2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4-5 slices of any mild, melty cheese (we were going to use something like Brie, but we ate it all)
1 small tomato, thinly sliced into rounds
a few very thin slices of red onion
canned tuna, preferably packed in oil
1-2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
sliced olives (green and/or black)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 tablespoon butter for grilling
In a small bowl, stir together the anchovy, garlic, red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Slice the baguette into a top half and bottom half. On one half, drizzle the anchovy/garlic/vinegar/oil mixture. On the other half, spread Dijon mustard. (It doesn’t matter which half gets what.)
On the bottom half, add half of the cheese. On top of the cheese, carefully arrange the tomatoes, then tuna, then red onions, hard boiled eggs, then olives. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Add the rest of the cheese, then cover the sandwich with the top half of the bread. Firmly press the sandwich together.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium low heat. Add the butter. When the butter melts, place the sandwich in pan upside down and press down slightly with a spatula. Cook until the cheese starts to melt. Add another tablespoon of butter if necessary, then flip the sandwich over and cook until bottom is toasted and cheese has melted.
Remove the grilled sandwich from the pan and place on plate or cutting board.