Picnic Week: Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches - Sweet Potato Chronicles - Sweet Potato Chronicles

Picnic Week: Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches

You know how when you talk about some­thing for too long it starts to take on a life of its own? We live in an open con­cept condo that was amaz­ing when Ben and I were the only ones in it, was still okay when we had Esme and now that there are four of us, is a dumb joke where the punch line is always me trip­ping over a wheelie bug. A move is not in our imme­di­ate future but it doesn't stop  us from talk­ing about "when we move to a house" quite a bit. We're going to have a big gar­den (flow­ers and veg­eta­bles, natch), a play­room, a big kitchen and a pantry, a coach house that dou­bles as a stu­dio for SPC (or a home office for Ben depend­ing on who is day­dream­ing), a laun­dry room and a cat. And full time staff. Why let real­ity come into it?

Until then, we have the parks. Like many urban fam­i­lies we spend hours at the two near us — the lit­tle park and the big park. Yes­ter­day, the kids and I spent the bet­ter part of the day at the big park, Trin­ity Bell­woods. When you want to make sure your kids have enough time to run off their cra­zies, the last thing you want to do is go home for lunch. I made this enor­mous tuna nicoise sand­wich in the morn­ing to give it enough time in the fridge but I really should have done it the night before. The result was deli­cious but could have had more time being pressed flat. It's a Martha Stew­art recipe with a few small tweaks to suit my crew. I like that it appeals to kids or adults. I only used the olive tape­nade on one side think­ing the kids wouldn't like it. Then I brought that piece to the park. They didn't even notice, so there you go. They both loved our lunch. Julian had to pull his open and pick out the pieces. Mostly it was great to be picnic-ing. Of course, it takes a long time to eat your lunch when you're tak­ing hide-and-go-seek breaks, pick­ing clover and stalk­ing your prey (lit­tle brother) through the tall grasses.

Tuna Nicoise Salad

1 loaf bread
2 x 7 oz cans of tuna
3 hard boiled eggs
1/4 Eng­lish cucum­ber, sliced
hand­ful fresh basil
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vine­gar
1 Tbsp dijon mus­tard
1 or 2 Tbsp black olive tapenade

Not an ingre­di­ent, but what's a pic­nic with­out watermelon?


Whisk together oil, vine­gar and mus­tard until you have a smooth dress­ing. Drain your tuna well — par­tic­u­larly if you're bad like me and can't stop buy­ing the Ital­ian, oil packed vari­ety which is the most deli­cious — and dump it in a bowl. Add 2 Tbsp of the dress­ing to the tuna and mash it up with a fork and mix well.

Toss the sliced cucum­ber in the remain­ing Tbsp of dress­ing and  give it a stir.

Cut the loaf of bread hor­i­zon­tally and use your fin­gers to pinch out a good bit of the soft bread inside. You're mak­ing a lit­tle nest for your sand­wich ingre­di­ents and allow­ing the sand­wich to flat­ten out a bit. You want to pinch out about a cup's worth of bread. Feed the extra bread to the birds or other hun­gry var­mits run­ning around your kitchen.

Spread a thin layer of tap­inade on piece of bread. Place a layer of basil leaves, fol­lowed by a layer of sliced egg. Now use a spoon to mound the tuna next. Fol­low with a layer of sliced cucum­ber. Place the top of the bread and press down gently.

Wrap the whole sand­wich in plas­tic. Put it on a plate and weigh it down with some­thing. I used a cast iron skil­let and a can of toma­toes. Put the whole works in the fridge for at least an hour or over night. You want the flavours to blend but also for the sand­wich to com­pact so it's eas­ier to slice. For adults you could cut it into quar­ters, for kids I split them in half again.



  1. Martha Sharpe says:

    Now crav­ing this sand­wich ferociously!

  2. T says:

    Just awesome,that's one mouth water­ing thing :)!
    Two actu­ally and a water­melon :)) for sure :)!

  3. Ceri Marsh says:

    Glad you like it! Let us know if you try it!!

  4. Barbara Yankoski says:

    I com­pletely for­got about this sand­wich and there­fore, I am so happy you have re-invented it. At one point I sub­scribed to Martha Stew­art Liv­ing and that cute guy I mar­ried and I enjoyed the sand­wich as a sup­per item quite reg­u­larly, espe­cially in the sum­mer. I will defi­nately try your ver­sion as we both love tuna. I really love olive tap­inade and I am quite sure that my sweet man, like your chil­dren, won't notice it is in there.

  5. Ceri Marsh says:

    I love this combo in any for­mat! Let me know if you and that cute guy give it a try.

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