a recipe from the garden

I continue to be amazed, grateful and delighted by this little garden of mine. Mainly because before this year, everything that I attempted to grow pretty much didn't, with the exception of weeds mint & rosemary. So it has been very thrilling to be greeted by all the thriving plants this season and to be able to enjoy their offerings. The strawberries were a big yummy hit with everyone, so next year we will be planting lots more of those. Nothing like fresh strawberries and vanilla bean ice cream to herald in summer. Now that strawberry season is over, we are looking forward to the tomatoes ripening. I already have a stockpile of fresh mozzarella waiting to be made into Caprese salad. And a few weeks ago, I think I scared the neighbors with my shout of glee when I spied a couple of eensy weensy baby watermelons among the jack and the beanstalk like vines. Yeah, call me a gardening newbie, but little things like that really add sunshine to my days. And now that the herbs are coming in full-blown, I need to start thinking of ways to use them. Please let me know if you have any good recipes or ideas for fresh basil, thyme, Italian parsley or lavender. The last will be interesting to experiment with, since I have never used it in cooking. Today, we are enjoying one of my favorite sandwiches of all time, pan bagnat, which is a specialty of Nice, France.

There are many versions of this sandwich floating around. Here's how I make mine:

one large crusty round loaf of bread 
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
one clove garlic, minced
freshly cracked black pepper
kosher salt
2 cans tuna in olive oil, drained
a couple of anchovy filets (optional)
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced in half
one small red onion, sliced thin
one ripe tomato, sliced 
a large handful of fresh basil

Cut the loaf of bread in half. Pull out some of the bread's interiors from both the top and bottom halves. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil and red wine vinegar on both halves. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper, then the minced garlic. Lightly flake the tuna and spread it onto the bottom half. Then layer on the anchovies (if using), eggs, red onions, tomato slices and basil.Cover with the top half and tightly wrap the sandwich in some plastic wrap. Press down gently but firmly. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Enjoy!

*sometimes I also add in some chopped kalamata or nicoise olives, red bell pepper slices, radishes, cucumbers, capers (depending on what I have on hand and what I'm in the mood for).


  1. Love it! I think this is a bumper crop year for us newbies. My fire escape herb and flower garden have been doing really well.

    Congrats, your garden is beautiful!

  2. Ooh those sammies look good! I'll have to try it sometime. And *jumping up with pom poms* hoorah for your garden. Those melons certainly deserved the enthusiastic shout out.

  3. Hmm, will have to try, but replacing a lot of the ingredients. LOL, not a fan of tuna, anchovy or eggs. Maybe pepperoni, cheeses, and other veggies.

    1. Yum! I think that pepperoni and cheese would be wonderful, especially with the fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil. I will try it and report back!

  4. the basil IS included in your caprese, right??!!! yummmmy sandwich...everything tastes so much better straight from the garden (or fresh from the farmers market) envy those folks who get to eat this way year round!

  5. Ohhh! Your sammies look so good. I will try to make for my husband, but honestly how beautiful is the bread?

    I love to see everyone's gardens online. I live in the city and it's fun to see what people can do. (I would kill it all even if I had a little garden)

    I cannot believe you have watermelons in your garden how fantastic. I love Italian Parsley and Thyme. I like to use them to make compound garlic herb butters. A pat with sauteed /roasted / grilled vegetables or steamed haricot verts or on a nice fish steak or beef steak, baste a roast chicken. Anyhow, you see I'm a little obsessed, I try to make a batch every month to keep in stock. You can finish just about everything with parsley right? potatoes, eggs, etc.

    I'm curious to see what you do with the lavender. Perhaps you could make your own herbs de Provence?

    1. The garlic herb butters are a great idea...and dangerous. I could probably eat it in one sitting with some warm crusty bread.

  6. Oh my...Congrats on pretty garden! I don't have green thumb and now I have no plants. Maybe next year?
    Thank you for the recipe- looks so delicious!


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