Pan Bagna

James Beard

Author and Educator

One of Beard's favorite sandwiches, the pan bagna is the ultimate picnic food. “The longer it sits," Beard wrote, "the better it tastes because the delicious flavors have a chance to get together." His measurements are inexact, so feel free to assemble the ingredients to your taste.


  • 1 hero roll, small loaf of French bread, or hard round roll
  • Olive oil
  • Several thin slices of red or white onion
  • Several strips of green bell pepper
  • Several tomato slices
  • Several anchovy fillets (or pieces of tuna if preferred)
  • Several pitted black olives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, optional


Split the roll or bread and brush the bottom part lightly with olive oil. Let it stand for a while to let the oil sink in, then cover with onions. Top these with a green pepper strips, tomato slices, and a few anchovy fillets or, if you prefer, pieces of tuna. Slice a few pitted black olives, strew these on top, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Brush the top half of the roll with olive oil (if you are a garlic lover, rub it with a garlic clove first to give it a little more zing), put the halves together, press down firmly, wrap in foil, wax paper, or plastic wrap.


1 serving