Cuisine Nicoise is different because until 1860 this part of France was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia in Italy. This style of cooking is a unique blend of Italian and French influences using the local harvest at hand, whether it is the tiny anchovies or sardines caught off the coast of Nice, the bitter oranges, the olives, or the lavender that grows wild everywhere.
I am going to share with you the very first recipe I learned when I moved there. It is a simple sandwich sold on the beach, in cafes and restaurants, and is absolutely delicious because the roll soaks up the juices from the tomatoes and vinaigrette. It is called Pan Bagnat.
These are approximate amounts of ingredients, because basically what you are doing is creating a Salad Niçoise in a salad bowl and then stuffing the roll or bread with it. So the following is a basic outline of how to put together the salad and the amounts of each you should judge according to your personal taste. Pick and mix the following to your liking and then make your sandwich with it!
Ingredients Per Person:
1 sturdy roll or section of baguette
1 clove of garlic grated or finely chopped
vinegar (I like to use tarragon infused vinegar)
extra virgin olive oil
1 very ripe tomato
1 hard boiled egg
1/2 green pepper
tuna fish, canned
some black olives
3 leaves of fresh basil
leaves of your favorite salad greens
1. Hard boil the egg and cool.
2. Quarter the hard boiled egg and tomato, or slice if you like
3. Cut anchovy filets into thin slices or squares.
4. Cut the green pepper and scallion into small pieces or slices.
5. Roll the fresh basil leaves and cut in thin pieces to make a julliene.
6. Toss the lettuce into the bowl with all of the above ingredients.
7. In a separate small bowl, whisk extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and sea salt to taste to make a vinaigrette.
8. Scoop out the insides of a large sturdy roll or section of baguette and sprinkle with a few drops of vinegar. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and salt as well.
10. Toss the Salad Nicoise with the whisked salad vinaigrette and then put some inside the roll. Press the top of the roll firmly down and cool the sandwich in the refrigerator for about an hour. By then, the juices of all the ingredients have mingled and permeated the roll—making this sandwich burst with great flavor in your mouth.