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Grilled Chicken Pan Bagnant

A Provenšal specialty, pan bagnat is literally a sandwich with "bathed bread" -- that is, the loaf of bread is split and drizzled with olive oil and/or a vinaigrette before being filled with other ingredients. In this version, grilled chicken stands in for the traditional tuna. Begin these sandwiches at least four hours and up to one day before serving. Get the picnic started with a selection of cheeses, salami, and crackers.

Type: Chicken, Poultry
Courses: Main Course, Sandwiches
Serves: 8 people

Recipe Ingredients

6   Boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 cup 78mlExtra-virgin olive oil - plus
3/4 cup 177mlExtra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons 90mlFresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon 15mlDried herbes de Provence - see * Note
2   Garlic cloves - pressed
  Salt - to taste
  Freshly-ground black pepper - to taste
2 teaspoons 10mlAnchovy paste
2   Round sourdough bread loaves - (16 oz ea)
4 tablespoons 60mlDrained capers
2 tablespoons 30mlTomatoes - thinly sliced (large)
1 tablespoon 15mlRed onion - thinly sliced (small)
4 tablespoons 60mlRomaine lettuce leaves (large)

Recipe Instructions

* Note: A dried herb mixture available at specialty foods stores and in the spice section of some supermarkets. A combination of dried thyme, basil, savory, and fennel seeds can be substituted.

Using meat mallet, pound chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap to 3/4-inch thickness. Combine 1/3 cup oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, herbes de Provence, and half of garlic in large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; shake to coat with marinade. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Remove chicken from marinade; shake off excess. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Cool. Cut chicken on diagonal into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices.

Whisk anchovy paste, remaining 4 tablespoons lemon juice, and remaining garlic in small bowl. Gradually whisk in remaining 3/4 cup oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut both bread loaves horizontally in half. Pull out and discard soft interior crumbs from top halves, leaving 1/2-inch-thick shell; drizzle 1/4 cup dressing over inside of each top. Drizzle 1/4 cup dressing over inside of each bottom half; sprinkle 2 tablespoons capers in each. Divide chicken, tomatoes, onion, and lettuce between sandwiches. Cover with tops, pressing to compact.

Wrap sandwiches in foil, then place heavy skillet or food cans on top to weigh down. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

Cut each sandwich into quarters and serve cold or at room temperature.

This recipe yields 8 servings.

Bon Appetit, August 2002


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