Have you ever kept a journal? Maybe intended to write every day for a year into a perfectly lined book? Or attempted to write your way through a journey? Well, that was my full intention when descending upon Paris. To be fully immersed as a writer and artist for a long weekend, but needless to say, the last half day of that adventure was completed a few months after I had already departed, yes, sticking to a journal is not for the faint hearted.
The city of light and love though is an artists paradise and really, the French love their art and the amount of artists drawn to this country throughout history is innumerable. Maybe it’s the way the language sounds like heaven with each mouthful. Or maybe it’s the French culture where they are partially rigid in certain ways and yet in others are not prudish like the English.
Needless to say I’m not huge on keeping a journal, this fact is further proven with my journal that is now down to its last few pages and I’ve had it since I was fourteen. The last few years it’s been lucky if I’ve written more than once inside it’s covers. Though it has been my goal to do this more over this year and it can be fun to sit back and read how one felt when they were sixteen.
Like keeping a regular journal, this fully loaded Pan Bagnat in today’s post is not for the faint hearted either, with its anchovies, olives and fennel on one sandwich you may think ‘have the French gone nuts?’ But oddly, although maybe not surprisingly this tastes really good. And I hate anchovies and olives (I actually am beginning to like olives, but I won’t admit that readily yet. I’m sticking stubbornly to this distaste for those pitted things the Greeks are proud of). The reality that this sandwich, which originates in Nice, has so many ingredients it probably took me half-an-hour to put together says how much of an experiment this was when it was first created.
Adapted from Saveur
2 plum tomatoes, cored and finely sliced
Pinch of salt
140g tuna, drained
3 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 red pepper, cored, deseeded and finely sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 large rustic bread loaf, halved and the inside removed
1 small fennel bulb, cored and finely sliced
1 small cucumber, sliced lengthwise
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
6 anchovies, drained
8 black olives, pitted and halved
Place the tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle with salt, set aside.
In a bowl, place the tuna, scallions and red pepper and combine.
In a separate bowl combine the mustard and olive oil and set aside.
Lay the tomatoes over the base of the bread, adding the fennel, cucumber and tuna mixture. Next lay the sliced hard boiled eggs and anchovies on top, finish with the halved olives. Drizzle the mustard dressing over and top with the bread.
Lay a weight on top and refrigerate for two hours or even overnight (this will allow the flavors to really mesh together).
Slice and serve chilled.