Pan bagnat began as a French salade nicoise with croutons. For the benefit of farm workers and picnickers, the combination evolved into a transportable sandwich. Here I've traded the traditional tuna and anchovies for eggs and beans as protein. For individual sandwiches, use sturdy round country bread rolls. To multiply the recipe, arrange the ingredients in a horizontally sliced loaf of French bread, then cut diagonally to form single servings.
If you prefer, you can used bottled Italian dressing rather than making the vinaigrette from scratch.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon sugar
Dash of freshly ground pepper, or to taste
Dash of salt, or to taste
1 large plump round country bread roll (such as a French boule), sliced horizontally
½ cup canned fava beans, drained and rinsed
½ cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
½ green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
¼ cup small black olives (preferably niçoise), pitted and halved
One 2-ounce can pimentos, drained and cut into thin strips
4 thin red onion slices
2 hard-cooked eggs, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tomato, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
About 6 large basil leaves, torn
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Remove (and discard) some of the soft bread from inside the roll. Brush the cut surfaces with the vinaigrette.
To make the filling, combine the beans, cucumber, bell pepper, olives, and pimentos in a medium bowl; toss with the remaining vinaigrette.
Spoon the bean mixture into the bottom bread shell. Top with the onion and egg slices; sprinkle with pepper. Add the tomato slices and basil leaves. Top with the other bread shell, press gently, and wrap it tightly with several layers of plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
If possible, allow the sandwich to stand at room temperature for half an hour before serving. Use a serrated knife to slice the roll in half to make 2 sandwiches.