On French beaches, where sunbathers don't want to waste a minute of precious tanning time, pain bagnat , a hefty sandwich filled with tuna, olives, onions and a vinaigrette dressing, is very popular.
In this country, a portable meal that's more than a little meat between two limp pieces of bread is always desirable. It's lunch in a loaf and a great alternative to juggling several food packets and dishes for outings.
Taking a cue from the French, I recommend deluxe salmon salad sandwiches. The recipe is special, starting with homemade bread and including freshly cooked salmon and the pungent addition of capers and olives.
If you don't have time to bake your own bread, buy two good, crusty half-pound loaves. Another shortcut: Either start with fresh salmon steaks or use canned salmon. The sandwich itself takes minutes to assemble.
DELUXE SALMON SALAD SANDWICHES 1 tablespoon capers 8 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large shallot, minced Juice 1/2 lemon 8 large basil leaves, shredded 2 cups flaked, cooked salmon Salt, pepper 2 loaves Homemade Bread
Combine capers, olives, tomatoes, oil, shallot, lemon juice and basil leaves in large bowl. Stir gently but well. Add salmon and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside 30 minutes for flavors to blend.
To serve, cut each loaf of Homemade Bread in half. Scoop out some of inside dough to create cavity. Pack each with half of salmon salad. Makes 2 large sandwiches.
\o7 Note\f7 : To serve as luncheon dish, spoon salmon salad onto 2 plates and pass bread on side.
If desired, grill or poach 2 medium salmon steaks. For poaching use combination of half white wine and half water to cover fish. Or, use 1 (1-pound) can salmon. Remove bones and drain well.
HOMEMADE BREAD 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (slightly more than 1 envelope) 2 to 2 1/4 cups bread flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 1 1/4 cups room-temperature water 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour 1 to 2 tablespoons cornmeal
Combine yeast, 1 cup bread flour, salt, sugar and water in bowl of heavy-duty electric mixer. Beat hard 2 minutes with flat beater. Add whole-wheat flour. Beat hard 2 minutes longer. Change to dough hook. Gradually add remaining 1 to 1 1/4 cups bread flour and beat to form soft but not sticky dough.
Cover dough with dish towel. Set aside at room temperature 4 hours, punching dough down about once per hour. When rising time is finished, punch dough down once more. Divide dough into 2 portions. Shape into 2 round loaves. Place on baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Cover with dish towel and set aside to rise at room temperature 1 hour.
Bake at 450 degrees 10 minutes. Spray loaves with water. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until light and crusty outside and browned on bottom, about 15 minutes longer. Cool breads on wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.