Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fancy French Food

Even though I've been totally exhausted the last few days, I've still managed to do a lot of cooking. I've read in several places that the idea that coming home from work and chopping veggies relaxes people is a big cooking myth, but I honestly do find it really relaxing and often look forward to it on my drive home!

This recipe though, is best for one of those days when you don't want a ton of prep and then you want to take a nap before dinner (like me!). I bought a copy of Fresh Flavor Fast at a Scholastic Books warehouse sale earlier this summer and it is packed with great recipes (250+!).

I saw this recipe for Pan Bangat and was immediately intrigued. I love a good pressed sandwich. I was hoping pan bagnat meant something really fancy in French, but it actually just means "wet bread." Gross.  Fortunately, it's really delicious so I'm willing to overlook it's not-so-savory name.

Pan Bagnat
from Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast 

  • 1 rustic round bread loaf
  • 3T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2T white wine vinegar
  • 1T Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cans oil packed tuna, drained
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3T store-bought tapenade
  • 1c fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large, hard boiled eggs, sliced
  1. Split bread in half horizontally. Tear out and discard most of the soft interior from each half.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and mustard, season with S&P
  3. Transfer 2T of this dressing to a small bowl and toss with the tuna. Toss cucumber and onion in remaining dressing.
  4. Spread tapenade on bottom half of bread. Arrange basil, then eggs on top, season with S&P. Layer with tuna, then cucumber and onion mixture. Replace top bread half.
  5. Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic and place on a baking sheet; place another baking sheet on top. Weight with a heavy skilled or canned goods. Let stand at least 1 hour at room temperature (or refrigerate overnight). To serve, cut into wedges.
B was concerned when he came home and saw this:

But was delighted to eat this. It's like a ni├žoise salad on bread!

He also ate the leftovers and said they were even better the second day. I envision this in heavy rotation on our meal plan!

Do you find food prep relaxing too? 
I actually think a lot of foodies do, otherwise why would we bother to cook such elaborate meals on the (relatively) day-to-day? If I didn't legitimately enjoy prepping for dinner, we would totally be eating frozen ravioli every night of the week! Am I right?