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pan bagnat

the ‘wet’ sandwich of Nice


Basically a salade niçoise in a crispy roll, pan bagnat is more of a meal than a snack. Originally it was an example of cuisine pauvre, as a way of using up stale bread, rubbed with garlic and moistened with water, or juicy tomatoes, cébettes in season, black olives, vinegar and/or olive oil. It would be served in a salad bowl.

It evolved into a sandwich that workers could munch on away from home. The soft wet bread makes it easier to chew (and makes a big mess!)

Nice’s Commune libre du Pan Bagnat is dedicated to protecting the ‘true recipe’ as purists are annoyed about people advertizing variations using lettuce, chicken, smoked salmon, ham, or putting mayonnaise on the bread, or some other abomination.

A true pan bagnat should have only fresh local seasonal ingredients in a crispy roll (the right kind isn’t easy to find outside of Nice) rubbed with garlic and filled with all or some of the following: tomatoes (cut in quarters), hard boiled eggs, black olives, cébettes (other onions are okay when they aren’t in season), little green peppers, radishes, basil, tuna and/or anchovies, baby broad beans and artichokes in season, olive oil, salt and pepper

There have been even been noises about ‘protecting’ it with a UNESCO designation, although that has yet to happen.

In Mougins, the gastronomic capital of the Côte d’Azur, you can sometimes find pan bagnat de Mougins, made with lobster.

Classic dishes

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Arnaud 25