With all the hoopla about “gluten-free” diets these days, I shudder to think about my life without bread. I have a special fondness for an artisan loaf with a crispy crust, soft interior and fabulous flavor. In my opinion. nothing fills that bill better that a beautifully crafted baguette (bag-EHT). A baguette is a French bread that has been formed into a narrow cylindrical loaf using a basic lean dough (little or no fat content) defined by French law. In my area of the world there are several bakeries that have mastered this art and although I have often made them in my kitchen, I have found it difficult to recreate the heralded crust in my home oven. That said, I most often make a trip to the bakery. One of my favorites is a loaf made by the Madison Sourdough Company. I believe it was my time living in San Francisco that made me a sourdough convert for life. The added tanginess give it another dimension that dance on the taste buds and sing a happy tune. That makes me a happy girl.
There is a down side to this taste treat, however. How do you keep it from going stale if you have leftovers? I may have found a product that helps keep it fresh for at least a few more days. Remember when I introduced you to Bees Wrap? Well, I have since discovered they make a larger sheet with dimensions (14″x26″) that fit the average baguette. I found it locally at our natural foods coop but it is also available at specialty stores and online. It is sustainable food storage that works and I think you will love it!
Since bread is an essential element for a sandwich, it was the following recipe that sent me to the bakery in search of the perfect canvas for my creation. I am really fond of the balance provided by the combination of ingredients presented here. Using a high quality tuna (packed in olive oil) is key to achieving maximum flavor. The salsa verde (green sauce) in place of mayo or other traditional spreads, paired with the peppery arugula and graced with a softly cooked egg take it over the top. The use of the Serrano chile is certainly optional, but used sparingly, it adds just a touch of heat.
Here is how it went down in my kitchen.
MEDITERRANEAN TUNA SANDWICH Serves 4
Recipe by David Tanis
For the salsa verde :
- 1 cup Italian parsley leaves, washed and dried
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup roughly chopped green olives, such as Castelvetrano
- 3 or 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped capers
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- Salt and pepper
For the sandwich:
- 1 baguette or 4 ciabatta rolls
- Handful of lettuce leaves, arugula or watercress (I used arugula)
- 8 ounces best quality oil packed tuna, drained, in large chunks
- 4 hard-boiled eggs (see note)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced, optional
- Make the salsa verde: Whiz parsley leaves and 1/2 cup oil in a food processor or blender to a pesto-like consistency, then transfer to a small bowl. (Alternatively, chop parsley by hand and combine with oil.) Add garlic, chopped olives, anchovies, capers, lemon zest and red pepper to parsley mixture and stir well. Season with salt if necessary and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Thin with more oil as desired.
- Cut baguette crosswise into 4 equal pieces, then split each lengthwise with a serrated knife. (If using rolls, split each lengthwise.) For each sandwich, lay bread flat, crust side down. Spread cut sides with 2 tablespoons salsa verde. Put a few lettuce leaves on 1 piece of bread and arrange 2 ounces of tuna over lettuce. Top tuna with 1 egg, quartered. Season egg lightly with salt and pepper. Add sliced serrano chile, if using. Drizzle with a little more salsa verde, then press sandwich closed.
NOTE: This is the recipe that inspired my creation. I changed it up a bit by making my eggs a softer cook (boil water, add eggs, cook 8 minutes remove and place in ice water). Also, I used arugula for its robust flavor and added a thin shave of radish for yet another layer of flavor, color and a pinch more love.
All the food groups are represented here so this filling and satisfying sandwich can serve as a complete meal. Whether served for lunch, dinner or game day snack, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Don’t like tuna? Try substituting chunked chicken breast (cooked of course, seasoned and tossed in a little olive oil). Whatever your pleasure, we all know the secret ingredient is love, so whatever you choose to make, keep spreading it, one dish at a time.
A reminder to “fall back” if you haven’t done it already. Don’t want you running late. Wishing you all a joyful November. Until next time, sending love from my kitchen to yours. Jeanne