This tuna sandwich recipe isn’t your average tuna salad slapped between two slices of Wonder bread. A crusty baguette hollowed out and filled with albacore tuna, hard boiled eggs, briny niçoise olives, anchovy fillets, whisper thin bell pepper slices, pickled onions, and a drizzle of oil make a tuna sandwich recipe worthy of the French countryside. Bon Appétit!
Have I told you before that one of the “do-over” desires in my life is the school year I spent in France? The French people, culture, and countryside were beautiful. My school was wonderful. My friends there were great. “So what’s the problem?” you may ask… The problem was that I was a vegetarian while I lived there and therefore missed out on all the lovely, delicious, succulent sausages for which the region where I lived -Alsace- was renowned. Dangit.
I don’t put it in the regret category, however, because I ate more than my fair share of amazing French food. The bread? Yeah, that challenged my “Man cannot live by bread alone” notion. The cheese? Whoa baby. It was there that I acquired my life’s devotion to stinky, well-aged cheese. The fish? Well, let’s just say that while I was there I didn’t miss meat at all because if there’s any culinary field in which the French come as close to excelling as they do in bread and cheese it’s in the preparation of fish. The French are wizards in fish dishes.
The Niçoise Tuna Sandwich Recipe I’m sharing today is so very in keeping with the French preparations of fish that I remember so fondly that I feel instantly transported back to the French countryside. The effect sadly doesn’t extend to the size of my jeans which -despite having eaten my weight several times over in French pastries- remained significantly smaller during my tenure in La Belle France. Le sigh.
The beauty of the Niçoise Tuna Sandwich Recipe lies in the perfect balance of meaty albacore tuna, crisp-tender, sweet bell pepper strips, tangy pickled onions, briny-and-tiny Niçoise olives, and salty anchovy filets all tied together with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped hard boiled eggs on a chewy baguette. The whole package is compressed and wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and parked in the refrigerator, cooler, or picnic basket (accompanied by ice packs) for several hours. That gives you just long enough to do something très French; put your feet up and read or bicycle into the countryside to nap under a tree with your Niçoise Tuna Sandwich Recipe waiting for you for just the right moment.
- Don’t freak if you’re not a fan of anchovies. They’re kind of like the anchovies in Caesar salad in this sandwich… you mush them up with a fork and they disappear. The saltiness they deliver is integral to the Niçoise Tuna Sandwich Recipe, so please give it a try!
- Can’t lay your hands on Niçoise olives? Substitute pitted, oil-cured or kalamata olives. They won’t be identical, but they’ll be similar.
- If you can get oil packed albacore, that’s your best bet. If not, the water packed will do.
- I like to use a handful of the little multi-coloured bell peppers that come in a bag in the produce department. If you can’t find those, you can use a larger red, orange, or yellow bell pepper in their place.
- Remember yesterday’s Quick Pickled Red Onions? They’re perfectly perfect here!
Tuna Nicoise Picnic SandwichRate Recipe
- 1 batard about 12 inches long
- 1 tablespoon coarse dijon mustard
- 6 anchovy filets coarsely chopped, and 1 tablespoon of the oil in which the anchovies are packed OR 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 can albacore tuna drained
- 1/4-1/3 cup nicoise olives lightly smashed with the side of the knife and pitted
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- 3 tablespoons pickled onion rings or 1 tablespoon chopped raw red onion
- 3 mini bell peppers cut into thin strips
- 2 hard boiled eggs peeled, sliced into rounds
- cracked or freshly ground coarse black pepper
- Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Use your fingers to pry out bread from the center of the loaf on the top and bottom leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch shell all the way around both halves of the bread. This way more fillings can fit into the bread.
- Divide the chopped anchovies, if using, between the top and bottom half of the bread, scattering them evenly. Break up and scatter the albacore tuna over the anchovies on the bottom half of the bread. Grind or sprinkle pepper, then arrange the nicoise olives, bell pepper strips, cherry tomato halves or quarters, then pickled onions over the tuna. Press the hard boiled eggs into the top half of the bread, breaking them up lightly as you do so. Drizzle the anchovy or olive oil over the eggs, then carefully position it over the fillings in the bottom half.
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap that is long enough to wrap all the way around the sandwich twice and have 2-inch overhangs on either end. It may be necessary to use two pieces of overlapping plastic wrap to get a sheet long enough to do the job. Position the sandwich about 1/3 of the way up the plastic wrap. Bring the edge up and over tightly and use it to press the sandwich. Now roll up the sandwich, pressing and tightening the plastic wrap as you do so, until the whole sandwich is rolled up. Twist both ends firmly shut and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight before serving.
- Remove plastic wrap before slicing in half to serve two as a main dish or into smaller slices as a starter.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
did you make this recipe?
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Finally getting a round to making this sandwich. Been bookmarked for ages, but just now got the energy to get my… well, you understand.
Made it using 2 French Rolls, since one of us (ain’t me) doesn’t like olives or raw tomatoes. No, I didn’t know this before I married her!
You mention mustard in the ingredients. Does it get spread on the top part of the sandwich, before the anchovies, or is it one of those things where the order/placement doesn’t make any difference.
Sandwiches are compressing in the refrigerator, even as we speak. Will be eating them in about 8 hours.
Very much looking forward to them.
You’re so welcome, Joe!! And the mustard placement is really not important. You nailed it. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you think afterward!!
This definitely goes into the “make again” file.
Pretty much an entire meal in a sandwich. Perfect for a picnic.
Could only find kalamata olives, which I think are a bit more robust in flavor than the nicoise, but quite acceptable.
The idea of a sandwich that needed 24 hrs of being wrapped in plastic wrap was just strange enough to be a “I’ve got to try this” recipe. I wonder how these were made, prior to the invention of plastic wrap. Waxed paper? That doesn’t really supply the compression.
I’m so glad you loved it, Joe!! I agree about it being a perfect picnic food. I agree kalamata is acceptable, but love the oily, briny punch of the Nicoise olives. I think they were probably wrapped tight in parchment or fabric and weighted down.
Holy mother of sandwiches. This looks incredible.
Carol at Wild Goose Tea says
I could totally eat this right now. It’s lunch time. I wish I could press print
and it would pop out the sandwich like a vending machine. I love the variety of flavors. Its visually very appealing.
Oh Yum! leftover green beans might be a nice addition.
True!This sandwich really is a starting point. You can add as many fresh veggies as you can find if you so desire!
Sherri Jo says
I want this so much. Right now. Like yesterday. Yum!
Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch says
Wow! This is not just a sandwich – it’s an experience!!! Love!!!