Storm the Sandwich

Make the pan bagnat your Bastille Day staple

Unlike our own food-centric holidays, France's Bastille Day doesn't have a dish to call its own. But Anisette executive chef Alain Giraud thinks that should change: He votes for the pan bagnat, a French picnic staple that's simple, classic and, as he says, "of the people."

Traditionally made with oil-packed tuna, hard-boiled egg and crisp vegetables, the Provençal sandwich should be made hours in advance to let all of the flavors meld together. You can add a variety of ingredients–thinly sliced fresh artichoke and fennel are great for extra flourish and crunch–but Giraud says the most important components are olive oil and tomatoes for their moisture (pan bagnat means "bathed bread," after all). And the bread should be soft enough to absorb all the juices; try an airy focaccia or spongy French baguette.

With no cooking, no fuss and no utensils needed to eat it, the pan bagnat is the perfect on-the-go food. "It's like a Niçoise salad on bread," says Giraud. "You just unwrap and eat." Vive la liberté, indeed.

Click here to download Giraud's pan bagnat recipe.