Pan bagnat recipe - or how to avoid wet bread with your wet bread

I thought after I'd finished MoFo, I'd want to put my feet up and steer well clear of all things blogging related. Turns out, I just can't quit you, MoFo – I'm drawn to taking pictures of my dinner and then posting them on the internet like a moth to a flame.

My last MoFo post was about sandwiches – I got that one into my English dishes theme on a technicality as they're named after the Earl of Sandwich, although I doubt he was the first man in history to think of putting stuff between two slices of bread. 

So, while England is putting egg or cucumber in its sandwiches, France is putting all manner of vegetables in its loaves and then squishing the life out of them.

It's a type of sandwich known as pan bagnat, which translates, rather charmlessly, into 'wet bread'. It comes from the city of Nice, in France, and typically involves putting a load of grilled provencal type veggies (courgettes, peppers, that sort of thing) along with some herbs and olive oil into a slightly hollowed out roll and then wrapping it up and putting weights on top to give it extra heft and flavour.

You can either make little roll ones, or one big loaf sized one, but either way you need a not-too-soft –and-squishy bread otherwise the veggie juices will make it all soggy. (it's called wet bread, but you don't want it too wet – that makes sense right?!) Something like a ciabatta or a pain de champagne should do the trick.

I think normally the herbs that get put in pan bagnat are things like basil and parsley, but seeing as I only had sage to hand when I was making it, that's what I used. Cooking hint: don't use sage, use basil or parsley! 

Pan bagnat

Makes two rolls

Two peppers
Half a courgette
Two large bread rolls
1tbsp of olive oil
1tbsp of red wine vinegar
Small garlic clove
Two tbsp of chopped green or black olives
Two tsp of chopped capers
6-inch section of celery, finely chopped
One small carrot, grated
Basil leaves, torn (parsley would also work. Sage really doesn't)

How you do it
Deseed two peppers and slice into thick strips. Cut the half a courgette into fat slices, and lay both peppers and courgettes on a baking tray.

Brush the courgettes with a bit of oil and put under a hot grill until the peppers are beginning to char and the courgettes are cooked (you'll need to flip them over half way through cooking.)

One they're cooked, pop a teatowel over the top and leave it to cool.  Once they're hot enough to handle, remove the skins from the peppers.

Mix up the capers, celery, carrot and olives and put to one side.

Meanwhile, slice the bread rolls about one third of the way down and pull out some of the bread from the larger bottom piece. Make sure you leave a centimetre and a half of crust all round though - otherwise the roll will get soggy.

Stir together the oil and vinegar, and using a pasty brush, paint it around the hollowed out inside of the roll, then rub the small garlic clove around it.

Then layer the ingredients: add some peppers, then courgette, then a bit of salt and pepper and a basil leaf, then some caper mix, then some more peppers, courgettes, seasoning etc etc until the bread is full. (You could add in some slice tomato too, if you wanted.)

Then wrap in foil, plastic or what have you, and put some weight on it: I used a plate with a can or two on top. Leave alone for a couple of hours while it does its thing. Eat.

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  1. Joey, I can't believe you're back at this already! It's like when I'm trying to rest, but I hear David doing the dishes. I feel obligated to get up and start sudsing plates too. But while you're up... This sandwich sounds so flavorful, and I like the addition of fresh basil! Oh, well. Maybe your blogging this early in the game isn't so bad after all. ;)

  2. Love those kinds of sandwiches that soak up the juices but doesn't fall apart too much. So much flavor in each bite! And great job on MoFo - I never knew that was so much yummy English vegan food. :-)

  3. I've never laid eyes on a more appealing vegetable sandwich! I'm usually leery of any menu that promises such a thing, because it usually just means limp lettuce, pale tomatoes, and whatever condiments they can scrape together. This definitely does the pan bagnat proper justice.

  4. Hahaha 'wet bread' is like the worst food name ever! Especially for something that looks and sounds soooo great. Oh man, sandwiches on tough bread are the best.

  5. That sounds delicious (well, apart from the sage mishap!). Never would have thought of weighing down sandwiches, haha.

  6. This is the sort of sandwich I admire but find a little scary because the idea of a soggy sandwich horrifies me - you advice is very useful - I wonder if you could add some tofu bacon too - that would be my sort of sandwich

  7. Yeah, wet bread just doesn't sound very appealing. :) But it looks amazing! And I've never seen this method for sandwiching before - but hey, then at least you don't have an exploding, falling apart sammich! .

  8. This is the perfect sandwich to take on a picnic — or to the airport when going on a trip. It's already wrapped, too!

  9. I've got to admit, I'm missing MoFo too. This sammie could make me feel better, so long as I forget the name.

  10. Oh damn, I would eat that sandwich anytime/anywhere! Reminds me of a muffuletta :)

  11. I was hanging out for MoFo to finish and as soon as October arrived I wanted it back! These look like some pretty impressive sandwiches although I'm not sure I would have the patience for them. Such an interesting technique though and not one I've heard of before. I love the sound of fillings, especially with some basil.

  12. So glad you didn't put your feet up and leave us for a spell! Love these takes on recipes.

  13. Well look at you go! I ended up taking a week off, which is way better then when I took two months off during my first year of mofo! I'm going to block out the whole "wet bread" thing and just imagine myself eating that sandwich, so much vegetabley goodness stuffed inside one sandwich.

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  15. Hi,

    I saw this competition where they are looking for people that can cook the national dish of their country. I think this might be of interest to you since you already have made this recipe (Pan bagnet). They are also giving away an Ipad mini who can cook the national dish of their country. =)

    Read more about it on their facebook page:

    Good luck! Hope to see you there! =)


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