Friday, March 24, 2006

Pawn Bon Yay

So tell me: is it winter, spring, or fall? What with temperatures racing to and fro, I certainly can't keep up with it. So last weekend I locked myself in the house, cranked up the heat, and went full gusto with thoughts of warmer times.

Light sandwiches are a summery staple in my house, and it inevitably culminates in the Mediterannean tuna sandwich. First discovered on summer vacation, with then-fiancee DucCat, when his mother whipped some up one day at lunch.

"It's from a Gourmet recipe called Pan Bagnat," she told us, "and it is just so good!" Boy, was she ever right, and we've been making them ever since.

The sandwich requires a boldly crusty bread to stand up against the juices, or you'll be left with mush. Albeit, good-flavoured mush. I try to stick with day-or-more-old baguettes, with the interior slightly hollowed out. And DucCat, my dear, don't look at me like that- this method simply provides more space for the filling.

What's in it? The basic blueprint is canned tuna, an oil-and-vinegar dressing, onions, tomatoes, capers, olives and lettuce. Missing an ingredient? Leave it out. Have a stray something laying about? Throw it on in there. I've added basil, roasted red peppers, even sliced carrots- it's all good.

To quench our parched palates, DucCat selected a 2004 Delfosse Chardonnay, a little trinket from our last Virginia wine country journey. Classically crafted with buttery pears and warm oak, it was just right for staving off the idiosyncrasies of the season.

Mediterranean Tuna Sandwich
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, sliced very thinly
capers, drained and rinsed
1 can tuna, opened and drained
tomato, sliced 1/4-inch thick
kalamatta olives, sliced
leafy greens
day old crusty bread

Combine red wine vinegar, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and a crack of black pepper, adjusting to taste as necessary. Place sliced red onion into same container, and let sit while preparing the remaining ingredients.
Slice bread in half, and hollow out a portion of the interior.
Beginning with bottom piece of bread, layer with vinaigrette-drenched onions. Follow with capers, tuna, tomatoes, olives and leafy greens.
If desired, add one more layer of onions, finish with top slice of bread, and press down firmly.

Arm yourself well with napkins, and keep in mind that this is in no way first date food!


Blogger Mona said...

oh man s'kat that sounds incredible. i never think of putting olive oil with tuna, i should start doing that more often, instead of mayo all the time. i think i'm mayo-ed out.

March 24, 2006 1:59 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

OMG, does that look good. It is perfect picnic weather here. (or at least sit out on the patio by the pool) I think I will make it this weekend. My DBF complains that I make to many Asian inspired dishes and not enough Mediterranean food. This will satisfy us both. :)

March 24, 2006 4:41 PM  
Anonymous C'tina said...

that does look like a sandwich made in heaven...would be great made with left over tuna nicoise salad.... with red taters, hb eggs, and the other nicoise fixins' on the side...or stuffed right in....

March 25, 2006 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Tania said...

Mmm ... sounds delicious! The combination of tuna and olive oil and capers is amazingly good and so very summery! I'm dreaming of warmer days already!

March 26, 2006 1:48 PM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

I got almost all the fixin's for this. I think I will indulge in something as close as I can get. We might not get some of our food freight right away since the ferry that brought our food truck sank last week. Soooo... a decent bread or red onion might be hard to find right now ;-)

March 27, 2006 2:20 AM  
Blogger kickpleat said...

wow, what a fantastic sandwich! i can't wait for picnic season.

March 29, 2006 1:12 PM  

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