french sandwich

French Sandwich (Pan Bagnat)

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I remember the first time I saw a French sandwich, I was a bit bewildered. Whereas in the States we’re accustomed to 6″ subs, in France, sandwiches are no shorter than 12″.

The French Sandwich

It was amazing to see all these super long sandwiches, piled up high on top of each other inside all the deli windows. It was even more amazing to stare at my empty hands after I finished one of them!

I remember buying the sandwich and thinking there was no possible way I could finish the whole thing. But lo and behold, it was all gone 10 minutes later.

And who could blame me? A French sandwich is a magnificent thing; it’s nothing like our plain ol’ turkey sandwich here in the States.

french sandwich

This French sandwich, also known as a pan bagnat, is one of my favorite French sandwiches. It’s similar to an Italian pressed sandwich in that it’s composed of many layers, which are then pressed together after a heavy object is placed upon the sandwich for several hours.

It’s a speciality of the Nice region in France and is traditionally made with tuna, but I’m not a big fan of tuna, so I subbed roast chicken.

It’s a wonderful way to use last night’s leftover chicken in a new recipe.

french sandwich

french sandwich

There are several ways to make a pressed French sandwich like this, but this recipe uses my favorite combination of ingredients. All the flavors just meld together so well and truly make this a gourmet treat.

If you’re using roast chicken, you can either use your local market’s rotisserie chicken, or make your own. The same goes for the olive tapenade in this recipe.

I share this French sandwich recipe with the hopes that it will serve you well now that picnic season is arriving. Serve this with a side of potato salad and a nice glass of rosé, and everyone’s happy!

french sandwich

French Sandwich (Pan Bagnat)

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

A pressed French sandwich from Nice and Provence. 


  • 8 oz loaf of ciabatta
  • 1/4 cup olive tapenade
  • 1 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 a large tomato, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup shredded roast chicken
  • 1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini
  • 2 oz arugula
  • olive oil, to drizzle


  1. Make a horizontal cut through the ciabiatta loaf to split it into 2 halves. Drizzle olive oil over each half. Spread the olive tapenade over each half of bread.
  2. Drop the crumbled goat cheese over the bottom half of the bread, followed by the tomato slices, roast chicken, pepperoncini, and arugula.
  3. Carefully, but quickly, flip the top half of bread over onto the sandwich, trying not to spill too much of the tapenade off. Tightly wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap.
  4. Place a cast iron skillet, or another equally heavy object, onto the sandwich and let the sandwich rest for at least 1 hour. If you have the time, let the sandwich rest under the heavy object overnight in the fridge for best flavor.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 2 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 519

french sandwich

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  1. A chef couple I knew long ago made me such a sandwich with a twist. After drizzling olive oil on the cut side of the baguette, they rubbed a cut clove of garlic over it. That, and the addition of an herb from their garden made the most delicious cold cut and cheese sandwich. Thanks for the recipe and memory!

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