Bastille Day Pan Bagnat Recipe

Pan bagnat literally means bathed or wet bread and is a classic French sandwich originating from Nice France.

Pan bagnat, a Provencal speciality.

Homemakers of Nice softened stale bread by placing it under a stream of water (an effective way to refresh the bread), hence the name pan bagnat wet bread or literally bathed bread.

It makes the perfect picnic sandwich for Bastille Day or any summer occasion. The Mediterranean flavors need to meld into the tuna sandwich before it’s served, so make it in the morning or in the evening for the next day’s picnic. 


  • 1 crusty rustic baguette approximately 12 inches long or 4-6 bread rolls
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Fleur de sel (French sea salt)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can or jar of tuna, drained and separated with fork
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced into rings and then halved
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced into very thin rings
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • Green olives, sliced in half
  • Fresh basil leaves

Directions for vinaigrette 
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk until the mixture emulsifies. If necessary, add one to two drops of water to aid in the emulsification process. Set vinaigrette aside.

Directions for Pan bagnat

  1. Slice the baguette horizontally.
  2. Scrape out some of the soft center from both slices of bread to create a well.
  3. Place the tuna, red pepper, red onion, and hard-boiled eggs on the bottom slice of bread.
  4. Sprinkle Fleur de sel and pepper on top of the eggs.
  5. Top the vegetables with the olives.
  6. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables .
  7. Add the basil leaves on top of the vegetables and place the second piece of bread on top.
  8. Carefully press down the baguette with both hands to remove air pockets.
  9. Wrap the pan bagnat tightly in plastic wrap and again in a pretty dish towel if you are transporting it.
  10. Weigh down the wrapped sandwich and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.

Alternatively, you can weigh down the wrapped sandwich and refrigerate overnight. Cut into pieces and serve with your favorite French beverage.