I’ve blogged about this sandwich before in passing, but I think it’s time I devote an entire post to the wonder that is the Pan Bagnat:
This sandwich is so good, you guys. You have no idea.
I can get this sandwich in only one place – at Maison Robert Chocolates in Chamblee. It’s anybody’s guess why this great chocolate and confection shop also sells an awesome sandwich, but I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. The sandwich is there and I can buy it and eat it; that’s all I need to know.
The sandwich I love is actually a variation on a true pan-bagnat (thanks for the info, Wikipedia), which is basically Salade Nicoise on white bread. My beloved version switches out brie cheese for the tuna and anchovies, and I couldn’t be happier.
Let me explain what comprises this sandwich. First, the bread: it is simple, round and white and merely meant to help you hang onto the contents of the sandwich, not as a whole-grain taste sensation. Unpretentious bread. I like that.
The contents? Tomato, cucumber, lettuce, shredded carrot, olives, fresh basil, hard-boiled eggs, and brie cheese, drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It sounds like a hot mess, but it tastes like something your lunch only dreams of being. I even pick all of the olives off and it is still my go-to, death-row-menu sandwich.
I have no hope of making this at home – the people at Maison Robert bake the bread in-house, and I’ve never seen anything in the grocery store that could hope to match its sturdy yet unassuming texture and flavor. Maison Robert has a lock on Chamblee-area Pan Bagnat sandwiches, and I’m happy to go there to keep their monopoly alive. Long live lunch!