Few experiences capture the essence of summer as strongly as a day at the beach. When the hot, humid weather hits, there’s only one place want to be, lounging in the sand, cooling off at the shoreline, and relaxing under the sun. And given the perfection of a summer day at the beach, the only way to make it even better is to enjoy great picnic food to go with all that wonderful salty, sea air.
Everybody seems to love the idea of a good picnic, they allow you to make the most of the fantastic weather and enjoy a relaxing al fresco meal with family and friends. But many people go wrong by trying to transport the sort of meal they would eat at home and, let’s face it; nothing tastes particularly good on squashy paper plates with plastic knives and forks. So for the perfect picnic, it’s a good idea to opt for food that you can eat with your fingers or just a fork and adopt a keep it simple philosophy.
A simple Spanish “Tortilla” omelette is always a great option or a delicious, chilled Gazpacho soup, but for me, the ultimate beach food is a “Pan Bagnat”. It’s basically a Salad Niciose in a roll. Good, ripe tomatoes, basil leaves, red onion rings, tuna, anchovies, black olives and a drizzle of olive oil are piled into a round bun or a baguette.
A lesser-known but equally delicious Mediterranean sandwich is Muffueletto, made with smoked ham, cheese and pressed overnight. To finish, try some big slices of chilled watermelon, small melons and peaches. With sunshine and shade, good food and cool drinks you should have no trouble spending a thoroughly glorious day at the beach. Bon Appétit.
For the filling:
2 round bread rolls or baguette cut in half
- 200g tomatoes
- 200g tinned tuna (packed in olive oil)
- 100g black olives
- 30g salted anchovies
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- ½ sliced cucumber
- ½ red onion, sliced
- 4-5 salad leaves
- 4-5 basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 100ml olive oil
- 1tsp dijon mustard
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt & pepper
1 Slice the tomatoes and salt them moderately in the bottom of a mixing bowl. Put this to one side and allow the salt to draw liquid out of the tomatoes.
2 Drain the tuna and reserve the oil for the vinaigrette.
3 Stone the olives if necessary and drain the anchovies. Flake the tuna into the bowl with the tomatoes and any juice th and stir loosely to combine.
4 Start a vinaigrette with a small amount of Dijon mustard, the raw garlic, crushed, and drizzle in the oil from the tuna. Add the rest of the olive oil and lemon juie. Season with salt and pepper.
5 Arrange the salad leaves top of one side of the bread and arrange the rest of the ingredients on top.
6 Drizzle with vinaigrette and top with the other half of the roll.
7 Wrap tightly in greaseproof paper and refrigerat.