This is the ultimate picnic loaf-basically a Salade Niçoise encased in a crusty loaf. I have kept to the classic ingredients –tuna, anchovies, egg, tomato and olives but added a little anchovy aioli to add flavour through the loaf. The aioli is given a little body by adding some of the breadcrumbs excavated from the inside of the loaf. You won’t use all the aioli in the loaf but it makes a delicious spread for toast or a dip for crudités. I weigh the bread down for an hour or two which makes it easier to cut the bread into wedges but you can dig in straight away if you just can’t wait. Try to buy good quality tuna in oil –really firm chunks rather than tins of catfood texture tuna.
- 1 round crusty loaf
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1 tin anchovies in oil
- 250ml sunflower or rapeseed oil
- To fill the loaf
- 2 eggs
- 2 x 112g tins tuna in oil, drained
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
- Handful of black olives, pitted
- Handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
- Handful of mixed salad leaves
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Cut the top off the loaf horizontally. Scoop out the crumb and set aside 50g-discard the rest or blend to make fresh breadcrumbs. For the anchovy aioli, put the 50g of crumbs into a food processor and add the egg, mustard, garlic, ¾ tin of anchovies with the oil and a touch of salt and ground black pepper. Blend to mix everything and, as the paste is coming together, slowly pour in the oil in a steady stream. You should have a stiff mayonnaise once all the oil is incorporated. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and hard boil the eggs for 7 minutes. Run under cold water, peel off the shells and slice. Drain most of the oil from the tins of tuna and place in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and ground black pepper.
- To assemble the loaf, spread a thick layer of aioli over the inside of the hollowed out loaf. Spoon over the tuna and spread to the edges. Arrange the sliced egg on top of the tuna followed by another layer of anchovy aioli. Top with the sliced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Scatter over the olives and drape the reserved ¼ tin anchovies over the top. Arrange the torn basil over the anchovy followed by the mixed leaves. Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Spread some anchovy aioli on the inside of the bread lid and replace the lid on the loaf. Wrap in greaseproof paper and weigh down with a heavy book for an hour or two. Cut into wedges to eat.