The flavors and juices of this ProvenÃ§al-style tuna sandwich seep into the bread while it is being pressed. Serve with: Marinated green beans and herbed orzo salad.
1 1-pound loaf unsliced French bread, about 14 inches long
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
2 6-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil, undrained
2 plum tomatoes, diced
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted assorted brine-cured olives
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Slice bread in half lengthwise. Using hands, remove interior of loaf, leaving 3/4-inch shell. Brush interior of both halves with olive oil and line with basil leaves in single layer.
Combine undrained tuna, tomatoes, olives, onion, and lemon juice in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon salad evenly into bottom bread shell. Cover with top half and wrap tightly with plastic. Place in shallow baking pan; top with another baking pan and weight with heavy cans. Let stand 20 minutes.
Unwrap pan bagnat and cut into 1 1/2-inch slices. Place on platter, garnish with basil sprigs, and serve.
Makes 4 servings.