Ina Garten's Easy Tip For Crispy Pan Bagnat Sandwiches

The pan bagnat – which translates to "bathed bread" — is a classic French sandwich that typically contains tuna, tomatoes, peppers, anchovies, and cucumbers and uses a round rustic bread. After all the ingredients are added, the sandwich is pressed and then chilled before being served. It is a good choice when you need to serve a large number of people, seeing as a whole loaf of bread is usually used rather than individual portions.

One person who is no stranger to making the pan bagnat sandwich is Ina Garten, the "Barefoot Contessa" host and food author. In a video for Food Network, Garten walks viewers through a making of a pan bagnat — and gives her advice on the best way to get them super crispy.

First, you use a sheet pan on top and weigh it down with heavy cans, keeping it there for about an hour. After the hour is up, the sandwiches have compressed immensely. From there, she uses a panini machine, keeping them in for about 10 minutes, to cook the sandwiches through. As an end result, the sandwiches are pressed and hot — and ready to be eaten.

What kind of pan bagnat does Ina Garten like to cook?

Despite the fact that a pan bagnat has a list of traditional ingredients, it can easily be made customizable — if you like to play with ingredients and try your own spin on things, you can certainly make your own unique pan bagnat. After all, Ina Garten has made her own version — one that ditches the tuna completely.

Garten shared her Tomato Mozzarella Pan Bagnat recipe with the Food Network, beginning with an unexpected bread choice: ciabatta, which she says she chose because it toasts really nicely. She recommended using any kind of dense bread if you don't want a ciabatta. She then went completely off course with her ingredients, choosing to include tomato, mozzarella, and basil. She also added in a vinaigrette — both in between some of the ingredients and on the bread. Really, Garten's version ends up being a combination of a Caprese sandwich and a pan bagnat.

A pan bagnat really is as customizable as you want it to be — so pick all of the ingredients you want, even if it strays from the traditional recipe of tuna and veggies. And with Garten's method for pressing it and getting it crispy, you'll end up with the perfect pan bagnat for your tastes.