A large and less soggy version of the wonderful pan bagnat, the famous fishermen’s salade Niçoise sandwich. It is a handy item to bring on a picnic, being robust and easily transportable. Obviously, the number of people served depends on the size of your loaf. As for the bread, if it’s a day old it will be easier to empty out to make the croutons but if it’s fresh you will be more tempted to eat the crust! Vary the colours of the peppers, the basil and cherry tomatoes to make things even prettier.
30 minutes preparation
1 large pain de campagne
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper
3 peppers, chopped into strips
20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
a good handful of anchovies
a couple of handfuls of rocket
3 tablespoons black olives, pitted
6 sundried tomatoes in olive oil, cut into 2cm pieces
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Cut a disc from the top of the loaf of bread wide enough to get a large serving spoon in. Scoop out the soft bread, trying to keep the pieces intact so you will be able to cut regular croutons of 1–2cm.
Rub the inside of the loaf with one of the garlic halves.
Heat some olive oil in a large pan and fry the cubes of bread with the garlic halves, tossing regularly, until the croutons become golden brown. Sprinkle with some fleur de sel and drain on some kitchen paper.
Put all the other salad ingredients in a bowl and toss with the vinegar and some more olive oil. Mix in the croûtons and spoon everything into the centre of the loaf.
If you are transporting the salad, don’t add too much oil before a long journey. However, the more oil you use, the more soaked and tasty the bread will be once the salad has gone!
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