Making sandwiches to savor

4 to 6 sandwiches
These sandwiches are a specialty in Nice, France. Pan bagnat is local dialect for pain baigne, meaning "soaked bread." Traditionally, small round loaves (boules) of crusty country bread are hollowed out and stuffed with tuna, tomatoes, hard-cooked eggs, anchovies and vinaigrette.
This version takes in a bit more of the Mediterranean by including Greek elements. The sandwiches can be assembled a few hours ahead; the crusty country breads will absorb juices without getting soggy. If you opt to keep the components separate and assemble the sandwiches on site, you can get away with a less crusty bread, such as pita pockets.
2 or 3 country bread boules split in half vertically, insides scooped out (leave a margin of about 1/2 inch)
24 ounces cooked lamb, tuna or chicken, or omit the protein and boost the amount of coleslaw for vegetarian sandwiches
Greek Goddess Dressing (recipe follows)
Mediterranean Coleslaw (recipe follows)
Greek Goddess Dressing
Makes 2 cups
This also makes a great dip. It's a takeoff on tzatziki@, a Greek cucumber yogurt sauce.
1 medium seedless cucumber, cut into thirds (not peeled)
1 medium zucchini, cut into thirds
1 scallion, white and tender green parts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
2 (6-ounce) containers plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Flesh of 1 avocado, chopped
Grate the outsides of the cucumber pieces, stopping before you get to the seeds if there are any. Over a sink, squeeze the grated cucumber tightly in your hands to remove as much water as possible. Place the grated cucumber (there should be about 1/2 cup) in a medium resealable container. Repeat with the zucchini. In a mini food processor or blender, pulse the scallion, parsley, garlic, 6 ounces of the yogurt, salt and pepper to taste until liquefied as much as possible. Add the avocado and puree until smooth. Add the puree to the cucumber and zucchini and stir in the remaining 6 ounces of yogurt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Per serving (2 tablespoons): 68 calories, 3g protein, 8g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0g saturated fat, 71mg sodium, 3g dietary fiber
Mediterranean Coleslaw
Makes 8 cups
This slaw is Greco-Nicoise. In addition to being a required ingredient in nicoise salad, French beans take the place of salad greens nicely because they provide a pleasant, colorful crunch and they don't wilt. Be careful about adding salt; the olives and feta cheese have plenty already. This recipe yields enough to use in the sandwiches and still have some left for a side dish.
1/2 pound trimmed French beans, cut in half
Dash of salt
1 pound shredded coleslaw mix
1 pint halved grape tomatoes
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup bottled balsamic vinaigrette
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Greek
Place the beans in a resealable food storage bag with the salt. Seal the bag three-quarters of the way and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Rinse the beans in cold water until they are cool and place them in a large bowl. Add the coleslaw mix, tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, lemon juice, vinaigrette, thyme and oregano and toss together well. Transfer to a resealable food storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Per serving (1 cup): 155 calories, 6g protein, 10g carbohydrates, 11g fat, 25mg cholesterol, 5g saturated fat, 680mg sodium, 3g dietary fiber
6 servings
Poaching is a quick and easy method to make moist chicken for these sandwiches or any dish calling for cooked chicken.
11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 quart chicken stock, such as Kitchen Basics, or more as needed (may substitute low-sodium chicken broth)
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the chicken breasts in a medium pot and add enough stock to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and let the chicken sit in the covered pot for 20 minutes. When cool, if not using right away, transfer the chicken and stock to a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate (the stock helps to keep the chicken moist). When ready to assemble the sandwiches, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and add salt and pepper to taste.
Per serving: 550 calories, 42g protein, 56g carbohydrates, 18g fat, 116mg cholesterol, 7g saturated fat, 1,310mg sodium, 8g dietary fiber
6 servings
If you're making just one of the protein fillings, go for the flavorful lamb.
11/2 pounds butterflied boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of all fat and silver skin
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Greek
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup bottled oil and vinegar vinaigrette
Rub the lamb on both sides with salt and pepper to taste and oregano. Place in a large resealable plastic food storage bag with the lemon juice, garlic and vinaigrette. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Position an oven rack 4 inches from the heating element and preheat the broiler. Blot the lamb with paper towels and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes on each side or until an instant-read thermometer registers 125 degrees for medium-rare. Transfer to a work surface and let the lamb rest for 20 minutes, loosely covered with aluminum foil, before thinly slicing. Pour any pan juices over the sliced meat. If the lamb is not being served right away, let it cool completely and refrigerate in a resealable container for 1 to 2 days.
Per serving: 656 calories, 36g protein, 56g carbohydrates, 33g fat, 123mg cholesterol, 14g saturated fat, 1,302mg sodium, 8g dietary fiber
6 servings
If using canned tuna, mix in some vinaigrette for additional flavor.
24 ounces canned fancy white albacore tuna packed in water, drained, or 11/2 pounds tuna fillet, cooked
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bottled oil and vinegar vinaigrette (optional)
In a medium bowl, add the tuna, breaking up any large chunks. Add salt and pepper to taste and the vinaigrette, if desired. Cover bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches.
Per serving: 588 calories, 43g protein, 56g carbohydrates, 23g fat, 93mg cholesterol, 8g saturated fat, 1,280 mg sodium, 8g dietary fiber
German Potato Salad
Makes 8 cups
This is the potato salad I grew up with in Alabama; my stepmother, Barbara, always made a Tupperware vat of it. Whether there were six or 20 of us, there was never any left over. It is best served at room temperature, and it gets better over the course of a few days. Ever since I tried to "improve" the recipe by using "fancy" ingredients, such as olive oil, it has come to be known in the family lore as "Barbara's Better-than-David's Potato Salad." Still, I sneaked a couple of deviations into this recipe. I substituted smoked paprika for regular paprika for a more robust flavor. I also substituted seasoned rice vinegar for white vinegar.
31/2 pounds red bliss potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar (if using unseasoned rice vinegar that does not contain sugar, add 11/2 teaspoons sugar)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
In a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat, add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and peel while they are as hot as you can handle. Cut one-third of them into 1/2-inch-thick slices directly into a large resealable food storage container. Drizzle one-third of the oil over them, then one-third of the vinegar. Top the potatoes with one-third each of the onions, salt, pepper and parsley, in that order. Repeat the process twice. Sprinkle the salad with the paprika. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate at least overnight.
Turn the container over for several hours so the juices permeate the potatoes. When ready to serve, bring the potato salad to room temperature and serve with a slotted spoon.
Per serving: 339 calories, 5g protein, 33g carbohydrates, 21g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1g saturated fat, 44mg sodium, 4g dietary fiber
12 cupcakes
These cupcakes were adapted from a recipe for red velvet cake made by Rachel Cheatwood, who appeared on Martha Stewart's television show a few years ago. The cupcakes are fun to serve to kids. To help the cupcakes survive the trip undamaged, transport them unadorned in a muffin tin and put the frosting in a resealable plastic food storage bag. When ready to serve, snip off a corner of the bag, pipe some frosting onto each cupcake and let the kids dip them in blueberries.
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (preferably whole)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon red food coloring
3/8 pound (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
11/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 pint blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper or foil baking cups.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Using a hand-held or stand mixer on high speed, beat the sugar and oil until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the egg, 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and the almond extract and mix. In 2 alternate batches on low speed, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk; don't overmix. Sprinkle the baking soda on the batter and drizzle on the vinegar (it should fizzle). Add the food coloring and mix just until the batter is uniform in color. Spoon into the baking cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, using a hand-held or stand mixer on high speed, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and stir to incorporate. Add about half of the confectioners' sugar and incorporate. Add the remainder of the sugar and beat until smooth. Transfer the frosting to a gallon-sized plastic food storage bag and refrigerate.
When ready to use, let the frosting come to room temperature. Cut off a corner of the bag and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Place the blueberries in a shallow container and dip the frosted cupcakes in them. Serve immediately.
Per serving (with 1 tablespoon frosting): 293 calories, 2g protein, 22g carbohydrates, 23g fat, 42mg cholesterol, 7g saturated fat, 254mg sodium, 0g dietary fiber
4 servings
This is a good use for cold coffee. I froze these lattes in recycled 16-ounce wide-mouthed plastic bottles. The frozen lattes can be used as ice packs for transporting the food to the picnic. They take about an hour to start thawing. As you drink them, shake them up, and they get slushy and frothy.
1 pint low-fat frozen coffee, chocolate or vanilla yogurt (may substitute ice cream)
2 cups brewed coffee, mixed with a heaping tablespoon each of sugar and cocoa powder, then chilled
Divide the frozen yogurt among 4 plastic bottles. Pour the cold coffee into each bottle about halfway up. Seal and freeze.
Per serving: 105 calories, 6g protein, 17g carbohydrates, 2g fat, 6mg cholesterol, 1g saturated fat, 83mg sodium, 0g dietary fiber

More like this from

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.