Oh to dine like the French — wine, cheese, some baguette served alfresco with romance on the side.
We see it in the movies, read about it in books and now Australian food writer Suzy Ashford brings us the recipes in “Le Picnic, Chic Food for On-the-Go” (Smith Street Books, $128 pages, $19.95).
Ashford, an unabashed francophile, devotes her first book to formulas for crusty, flavorful sandwiches; tarts, flatbreads, salads and desserts — perfect for a Parisian picnic or even an evening at pops in the park.
Try out this sandwich for an over-stuffed pan bagnat.
PAN BAGNAT PICNIC SANDWICH
Makes 6 servings
1 (8 inch) round rustic bread loaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 anchovy fillets, chopped
½ small red onion, finely chopped
2 free-range eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and sliced
1 tin (6½ ounces) tuna packed in olive oil, drained
1½ ounces or 1/3 cup pitted black olives, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, thickly sliced
1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, thinly sliced
Use a serrated knife to cut the loaf horizontally, all the way through; it helps to make the base larger than the top. Remove a little of the inside of the bread, to create a cavity. Sprinkle both cut sides of the loaf with the olive oil and vinegar.
Scatter the anchovy fillets evenly over the base of the loaf, then top with the onion and egg slices.
In a small bowl, break up the tuna chunks with a fork. Add the olives and pepper and stir to combine. Spread the tuna mixture over the egg slices. Lay the tomato slices over the top and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the cucumber slices, then place the bread lid on top.
Press the loaf back together again firmly, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place on a tray or cutting board, and place another tray or board on top and press down for a few minutes, or place some tins of food on top to compress the loaf.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 8 hours. Unwrap and slice into 6 wedges to serve.
PER SERVING: 331 calories, 11 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 9 g fat (1 saturated), 70 mg cholesterol, 570 mg sodium.
— Lisa Abraham writes about food for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. Email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @DispatchKitchen.