The girls and I just returned from a week of R&R in Florida with my parents (and a big 70th bday celebration for my mom…Happy Birthday Mom!!). Beach time was definitely maximized: long morning walks, shelling with the girls, afternoon picnics, sunset cocktails. On our last day my dad picked up sub sandwiches for our final beach picnic. I hadn’t had a decent sub in years (I said decent….Subway does not count!). The UK does lots of things well, but submarine sandwiches it does not.
A sub (or “submarine” as formally known) is a baguette or similar large roll, filled with various meats and cheeses, topped with veggies and finished with a vinaigrette, mustard or mayo. Fillings are generous, heaping, piled atop each other. They are great for picnics as you can make one large sandwich that feeds four. I also like them for a casual dinner or weekend lunch.
This tuna nicoise sub (or “baguette” for you fancy folks) has the typical components of a nicoise salad – tuna, eggs, olives, tomatoes and a vinaigrette. It’s anything but a boring sandwich. Best part, it should be made about 2 hours ahead of time, so prepare it before you head off to your picnic and by the time you’re ready to eat the flavors will have blended nicely.
I realize that posting a picnic item is a bit unseasonal, but this is definitely a year-round item….and don’t forget about this once the weather does warm up a bit, the snow melts, and you’re packing your first picnic of the season. Or just lay a blanket in the living room!
Tuna Nicoise Baguette (serves 4)
Note: For perfectly hard-boiled eggs, follow these instructions from The Gourmet Cookbook. Combine eggs (you can make more than just the two for this recipe – make extra for egg salad or for snacks) and cold water to cover by 1.5 inches (4 cm) in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, partially covered. Reduce heat to low, cover pan completely, and cook eggs for 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat and let eggs stand in hot water, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain eggs in a colander and run cold water over them for about 5 minutes (or place in a bowl with cold water and ice for 5 minutes) to stop the cooking.
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 baguette, approximately 18″ (45 cm) long (about 400 grams or slightly less than 1 lb)
12 ounces (340 grams) canned/tinned tuna packed in oil or water, drained well
1 small green pepper, sliced into rings (if rings too large, cut in half)
1 small red onion, sliced into rings
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup (120 grams) chopped kalamata olives
1 tomato, thinly sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until mustard is dissolved. Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in the olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Set aside.
Slice the baguette horizontally into 2 pieces. Tear out some of the soft bread in the center of each side, making a slight well in the bread. Place the tuna, green pepper, onion, eggs, olives and tomato on the bottom side of the bread in that order. There will be a lot of toppings, but they’ll compress when wrapped with plastic wrap. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the vegetables, top with the second piece of bread, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.
Cut into 4 sandwiches and serve (I cut into 6 sandwiches as I knew my kids would want a smaller sandwich, but for 4 adults, cut into 4 sandwiches). Best served after it’s sat for 2 hours, as it allows time for the flavors to blend, but can be eaten sooner if short on time or even save it until the next day, though may be slightly soggy on the bottom. I realize that latter doesn’t sound remotely appetizing, but honestly I had it for lunch the next day and it was still delicious and only the slightest bit soggy.
Adapted from Alton Brown