Egg and anchovy pan bagna

Egg and anchovy pan bagna


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About this recipe: Pan bagna is a Mediterranean layered sandwich, often prepared in a hollowed-out round, rustic loaf. Here eggs, anchovies, capers, basil and tomatoes – all ingredients from a classic salade niçoise – are layered in a long French loaf, then left so that the flavours can mingle and soak into the bread. It's a great picnic lunch.

Norma MacMillan

Serves: 4 

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 large French baguette, about 25 cm (10 in) long, about 225 g (8 oz)
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced
  • ½ mild Spanish onion, very thinly sliced
  • 8 anchovy fillets, halved lengthways
  • 1 tbsp drained capers
  • a good handful of fresh basil leaves
  • pepper

Prep:1hr10min  ›  Cook:8min  ›  Ready in:1hr18min 

  1. Place the eggs in a pan with enough cold water to cover them. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat slightly so that the water is boiling gently, and cook the eggs for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse the eggs under cold running water to cool them quickly. Peel and slice.
  2. Stir the oil and garlic together in a small bowl. Cut the bread open lengthways, keeping it still attached along one side, like a hinge. With the loaf opened out flat, drizzle the garlic-flavoured oil all over the cut sides.
  3. Layer the egg slices, tomatoes, pepper, onion and anchovies in the baguette, scattering on the capers and basil leaves among the layers. Make sure that each ingredient is evenly distributed along the loaf. Season with pepper, then close up the loaf and wrap in cling film.
  4. Leave at cool room temperature for about 1 hour (or up to 3 hours in the fridge). Slice across into 4 portions for serving.

Each serving provides

A, B12, C, E, niacin, selenium, B1, B2, B6, folate, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, zinc

Some more ideas

*For a more substantial sandwich, add 85 g (3 oz) drained canned tuna or pan-seared fresh tuna steak, flaked.
*Instead of red or yellow pepper, try roasted peppers or marinated artichoke hearts.
*Make a Greek-style salad loaf. Layer 200 g (7 oz) sliced halloumi cheese, 1 sliced red onion, 3 sliced ripe tomatoes, 100 g (3½ oz) thinly sliced cucumber, 55 g (2 oz) stoned black olives and a small handful of fresh mint leaves in the baguette.

Plus points

*Anchovies are small oily fish, most commonly available filleted and cured by salt or brine. They contain both calcium and phosphorus, essential for healthy bones and teeth. These minerals are still present in anchovies that have been cured and canned or bottled.
*The powers of garlic have been recognised for centuries and it has been credited with curing complaints as diverse as athlete's foot and the common cold. The discovery of allicin, the compound that gives garlic its characteristic smell and taste, and its anti-fungal and antibiotic properties, supports already established folklore.

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