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Pan Bagna #NationalPicnicDay

April 23 is National Picnic Day so my friends and I decided to share our favorite portable picnic foods with you.  I'm sharing Pan Bagna, a pressed sandwich that you can make ahead, thus saving you time on picnic day!

You want a crusty loaf with a chewable crust, not too soft but not hard either.  I like using really ripe tomatoes and instead of whole anchovies, I use anchovy paste.  I also use the highest grade of oil-packed tuna I can find.  Letting the sandwich sit a few hours helps the flavors blend.

I have dreams of eating pan bagna in Nice, France, where they are a popular street food.  I walk along the streets, going in and out of stores until I find a vendor.  I purchase my pan bagna and a cup of good burgundy and sit down to eat.  Doesn't that sound wonderful?

What I adore about pan bagnet is that you can choose any fillings.  The basics are the tomatoes, red onion, the anchovy paste and oil and vinegar.  You can switch up the veggies and the meats.  Try hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced salami or oil-packed salmon for the meats.  Don't leave out the pressing, that is how the juices get incorporated into the sandwich.

Yield: 8

Pan Bagna

A French sandwich perfect for picnics.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 40 M


  • 1 Italian loaf of bread
  • 1/2 c olives
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, slices
  • 8-12 basil leaves
  • 1 pouch tuna
  • 1 T anchovy paste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T white wine vinegar


  1. Split the bread in half length wise.
  2. Tear out some of the bread until you are about 1" from the crust on both halves.
  3. On the bottom half, smooth anchovy paste on bread.
  4. Drizzle the oil and vinegar on both sides of the bread.
  5. On the bottom half, layer tomatoes and onions,
  6. On the top half, place olives, basil leaves and then tuna on the bread.
  7. Moving carefully, place the top half of the bread on the bottom half.
  8. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
  9. Set on counter and press with a cast iron skillet.  
  10. Leave the skillet on the sandwich for 30 minutes.
  11. Slice into 1-2" slices.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Portable Picnic Food

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Would you like to comment?

  1. My husband and I had a little picnic about 2 weeks ago. It was cute. Sadly these people kind of ruined it because they were obnoxiously loud, but we tried to just make the best of it!

  2. Do I have to use the anchovy paste? Love everything else about this sandwich. Not to hard and not soggy is a must.

    1. No, but it doesn't taste like anchovies, it is more like a salty flavor. It's not soggy but the bread is infused with oil and spices.

  3. I love trying new street foods when I'm traveling and this would be a fun one to try at home. I would really like to make some for lunch one day.

  4. This recipe looks so yummy. It would be perfect to make for our next picnic.

  5. Now this sounds absolutely delicious what an interesting idea of something to make for National Picnic Day I have to admit I love a sandwich.

  6. This sandwich sounds incredible! Visiting Southern France is high on my travel bucket list, so I hope to have an authentic version of this classic someday too.

  7. Oh my gosh, this looks AMAZING! I am totally craving a sandwich right now (which is a major problem seeing as I've cut out carbs LOL!)

  8. Such a great idea to make a sandwich. I would love to try this one of these days, it is something that my husband would love.

  9. I think this is perfect! It would be so awesome to try this and set a picnic date with my niece. Yum!

  10. Looks like a super great picnic food idea for the day! Thanks for sharing such a great treat.

  11. What a great looking sandwich! I love the addition of olives in this. Sounds like a great sandwich for a picnic. These would be perfect for when we go on a hike.

  12. I can't handle it when I have a sandwich that I can't bite through. I like a tasty crust but nothing too hard.

  13. I love good sandwich, this looks delicious, Homemade is always best, I like the addition of anchovie paste.


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