Popular in the South of France, Pan Bagna can be made from a myriad of ingredients, traditionally fresh seasonal vegetables with a high quality tuna canned in oil or anchovies. Crusty bread is liberally brushed with olive oil, filled with ingredients of choice, then weighted down for several hours or overnight. A perfect picnic sandwich to make ahead; in fact, gets better with age, relatively speaking, as all the flavors have time to intermingle.Legend has it that the first pan bagna was created by the mother of a shepherd boy who wanted to make him a special sandwich for his lunch while he tended sheep in a nearby meadow. The shepherd’s family lived near Nice which lies on the lovely coastline of the Cote d’Azur in Southern France, also famous for the Salade Nicoise. Pan’s mother split some crusty bread, packed it with some of this colorful vegetable salad, wrapped the sandwich in a linen cloth and sent the boy on his way. Upon opening the linen wrapping, Pan found the bread to be a little dry, so drizzled it with some olive oil from the mini amphora he carried on his belt. Voila, Pan Bagna,”bathed bread” was born! SourceBest made with slightly stale bread, this version of the Pan Bagna features pantry or deli ingredients to make your sandwich a snap to make. Recipe adapted from “Pizza, Focaccia, Flat, and Filled Breads From Your Bread Machine” by Lora Brody1/2 cup olive oil1 medium red onion, pickled (recipe) or purchased pickled onions of choice1- 6-1/2 ounce can of tuna in oil, drained1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, marinated in oil, drained and sliced thin1/2 cup black olives, drained, pitted and sliced1/2 cup green olives,drained, pitted and sliced1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers in oil, drained1 cup fresh spinach leaves,washed and driedFreshly ground pepper to tasteUsing either a large round loaf or a long French loaf, slice the bread in half crosswise and place on a rack. Drizzle the olive oil on both cut sides of the bread. On one section of bread,layer the onions, tuna, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and peppers. Place spinach leaves on the top layer. Season with freshly ground pepper. Lay the top crust on top of the filled bottom layer. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place sandwich on a pan and weight it down by placing another pan on top, then a 5 pound weight-a unopened bag of sugar or flour will suffice. Let the sandwich rest, refrigerated 2 to 4 hours, or overnight.To serve, unwrap sandwich and cut into desired sections. Serves 4-6. Note: If your bread is too thick, hollow out the inside, leaving about an inch of bread remaining, then layer on your filling ingredients.