Pan bagnat with grilled peppers and basil vinaigrette The humble, healthy Provençal sandwich goes gourmet

Pan bagnat with grilled peppers and basil vinaigrette

Salade niçoise served on bread: greater than the sum of its parts…

This classic Provençal sandwich, which means “soaked bread” in the ancient Nice dialect, is nothing more than a Salade Niçoise served between two pieces of bread. In the old days it was considered to be a humble food, made with ingredients that every household would have on hand.

The quintessential summer sandwich!

But today Pan Bagnat is fashionable fare. And for good reason: it makes an extraordinarily delicious and satisfying meal. In my version, the grilled peppers add a bit of depth to this simple sandwich, and the basil vinaigrette soaks the whole thing with its ambrosial fragrance. It’s the quintessential summer sandwich!

Food & wine pairing: Naoussa, Xinomavro with pan bagnat

Red wine iconHow about trying something unusual: a Xinomavro from Naoussa (Greece), like the Thimiopoulos Vineyards, “Uranos” Xinomavro? These powerful wines have complex aromas of dark fruit, tobacco, earth, black olives and sometimes a hint of pepper – all of which harmonize beautifully with the flavors of this sandwich. Of course, you can always serve a Côte du Rhône – this is the wine you’d be served with a Pan Bagnat if you were to order one in a Provençal restaurant.

Red bell peppers

Pan bagnat with grilled peppers and basil vinaigrette

serves 4
active time: 40 min

For the peppers

  1. 2 large red bell peppers – quartered; stems, seeds and veins removed
  2. 1 teaspoon olive oil

For the vinaigrette

  1. 12 large basil leaves
  2. 2 tablespoons aged balsamic or red wine vinegar
  3. 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1 garlic clove – peeled
  5. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  6. freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the sandwich

  1. 1/3 cup pitted Niçoise or Kalamata olives – coarsely chopped
  2. 1 tablespoon capers – drained and finely chopped
  3. 4 baguette or ciabatta rolls
  4. 4 scallions – white and pale green parts cut in 1/8″ slices (1/2 cup)
  5. 4 hard boiled eggs – shelled and cut in 1/4″ slices
  6. 2 medium ripe tomatoes – cut in 1/4″ slices
  7. 1/2 seedless cucumber – cut in 1/8″ slices (use a mandoline)
  8. sea salt to taste
  9. freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Step 1: Brush the peppers with olive oil and set aside on a tray. When the grill is ready, place peppers directly on the grill, cut side up, and grill until charred, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn peppers over and grill until well charred, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a tray and set aside. (Alternatively, you can roast the peppers under the broiler using the same directions.)
  3. Step 2: To make the vinaigrette – Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until basil is very finely chopped and vinaigrette is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Step 3: In a small bowl, mix the olives and capers. Set aside. Cut rolls in half. Lightly toast cut side on the grill or under broiler. Drizzle both sides of the rolls with two thirds of the vinaigrette to soak the bread. Top the bottom half of each roll with the grilled peppers, olive/caper mixture, scallions and egg slices. Drizzle with the balance of the vinaigrette. Top with the tomato and cucumber slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finish with the top sides of the rolls, press slightly with your hand, and cut sandwiches in half. Serve with a leafy green salad with mustard vinaigrette.

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Pan bagnat with grilled peppers and basil vinaigrette

sandwich, pan bagnat, bell peppers

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  • Reply angiesrecipes June 9, 2019 at 8:01 am

    What a gorgeous classic sandwich! Wish I could sink my teeth into this beauty!

  • Reply mjskitchen June 28, 2017 at 2:57 am

    Fabulous idea!!!! Ideas like this is why I absolutely love summer and all it’s awesome produce!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre July 1, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      Thank you, Mj!

  • Reply Karolina April 2, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    What a great sandwich! I will definitely try that at home! 🙂

  • Reply Keri October 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Tried this recipe this week. It was so tasty! And pretty messy to eat. Maybe we’re just slobs here but we really did enjoy all the flavors. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply Viviane October 20, 2011 at 9:38 am

      Keri! I forgot to mention how messy it is to eat these sandwiches… it’s not you! Somehow all the dribbles make it more fun and more delicious. Very glad you enjoyed it!

      • Reply Michelle/Mickle in NZ September 22, 2012 at 9:12 am

        Ooo, the mess would be half the fun – as long as there was another with you getting equally messy! I’ve never made these but must try this coming summer – I’d add anchovies as I love their flavour!

  • Reply Mandy @ Cater to Me July 26, 2011 at 2:22 am

    I’ve been hearing so much about pan bagnat lately, and it looks wonderful! I love the addition of the basil vinaigrette – this is a must try!

  • Reply kristin July 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    The color alone looks yummy ! I can’t wait to try this one . mmm

  • Reply torviewtoronto July 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    deliciously done looks colourful

  • Reply Julie Fordyce July 4, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I’m making this for lunch. Have a happy 4th!

  • Reply BakingMeHungry July 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    This sandwich is well photographed and tantalizing!

  • Reply Priscilla July 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Fresh goodness in a bun! I’ve made traditional Pan Bagnat with tuna (in oil as used in Provence) but I love your beautiful vegetarian version.

  • Reply Tiffany July 2, 2011 at 10:15 am

    SO PRETTY! Congrats on making Top 9!!!

    • Reply Viviane July 2, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Thank you so much Tiffany – I’m really grateful for your comment because I had no idea I made it to Top 9 today! You’re the best.

  • Reply Liz June 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Oh, that bread soaked in your basil vinaigrette looks amazing! Lovely sandwich for a hot summer’s eve!

  • Reply Susan June 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

    So gorgeous! Almost too pretty to eat… almost!

  • Reply El June 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Beautiful sandwich. I love the idea of adding the olives. Scrumptious.

  • Reply Kay Ecker June 30, 2011 at 9:50 am

    your pics are beautiful and your sandwich looks delicious. Nice touch with the grilled peppers!

  • Reply lisaiscooking June 30, 2011 at 9:32 am

    This is such a pretty version of a pan bagnat! And, now I’m going to have to find one to have for lunch because I’ll be craving this sandwich all morning.

  • Reply sara June 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Oooooh, this looks SO tasty! Yum. 🙂

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