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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cool and Easy Summer Sandwiches

I first tried these delicious Tunisian sandwiches nearly thirty years ago when I was an impoverished student in Paris. We often ate near the Gare de Montparnasse, in a modest immigrant neighborhood filled with cheap hotels, sandwich shops, and bakeries. These sandwiches have remained a staple in our home, an essential part of every picnic and a favorite on days when it's too hot to cook.

Tunisian Tuna Sandwiches


2 cans tuna, drained
1 green pepper sliced into strips
1 onion, sliced into strips
1 tomato, sliced into strips
1 can pitted black olives
1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Crusty bread like a French baguette or Ciabatta loaf
harissa (a kind of hot sauce)--optional

Mix all of the vegetables together with the tuna in a large bowl. In a small glass, mix the olive oil and lemon juice with the salt and pepper. Stir well and then pour over the vegetables. This will make a tuna salad which can stand on its own or be used to fill the sandwiches.

To make the sandwiches: Slice the crusty bread in half. (Don't use typical American square bread. This is a very juicy filling and your sandwich will become mush if you do.) If you like, spread harissa one side of the loaf. Fill the middle of the loaf with the tuna and vegetable mixture. Slice the stuffed loaf into individual portions. Enjoy!

I would love to hear your thoughts on these sandwiches. Have you ever had them before and do you like them? Please let me know if you want me to post the recipes for any other North African specialties here.


  1. Gail,

    This sounds like something my husband would love. I'll have to surprise him. One question. What is harissa?

  2. Sounds wonderful. I may have to make these this weekend. My husband would love this too.

  3. Hi Samantha,

    Thanks for commenting. Harissa is a popular hot sauce used in most North African cooking. It's available in the states in cans or tubes shaped like toothpaste. The brand we have in our house right now is called DEA and it's made in France. (LOL). But I think it's available in any store that carries foreign foods. We buy ours at the Boise Food Co-op, which is a natural/health food store.

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  5. Let me try again.

    Love, love , love, tuna on baguette! :) Jill

  6. Great sounding recipe! Thanks for posting it. YES, tell us more. My husband and I cook a great deal and are always looking for new flavor combinations. Cassy

  7. I'm not a big tuna lover. Do you think I could use this with cooked chicken? It sounds wonderful, except for the tuna!!

    Hubby would definitely like it, though.

  8. Ooooh. This looks like a fantastic sandwich. I'll definitely have to try this one! :-)

  9. This one makes me wish I wasn't such a picky eater. LOL. I might have to try it out and make a few tweaks to avoid things I don't like.

    I've never tried harissa, but I hear about it all the time on the Food Network.

  10. Thanks everybody for all the kind comments.

    This is actually really good without the tuna. I've never tried it with chicken. Let us know how it turns out, please.

  11. Ooooh...this sounds amazing! I am not a big tuna girl, however. Do you think it would work with chickpeas?

    Please, post more recipes! I am always on the lookout for different things to eat, the spicier the better!

  12. I've noted this recipe and I'm going to give it a try. I love an excuse to use harissa. I was first introduced to it when my husband's former boss invited us to an Algerian dinner. We had a huge tagine full of couscous, and something that resembled pizza. It didn't taste a thing like pizza, and there wasn't any cheese or tomato sauce in sight, but it was the same idea, with a base crust and toppings. I'd love to know what it was if the description speaks to you at all.

  13. This sounds so refreshing -- and I'm loving all the variations everyone is suggesting! Can't wait to try it.


  14. Erica,Chickpeas sounds like a great suggestion. I'll have to try mixing them into this salad.

    Aislinn, Do you remember what the toppings were. I can think of several dishes that might fit that description.

    Thank you everybody for stopping by and commenting today.

  15. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Clarissa. I'm gonna feature your recipe tomorrow on my blog. I cannot *wait* to try this recipe. I'll let you know when I do!! :-)

  16. Thank you, Rebecca Lynn. Please check that you have the one where it says to mix the tuna with the sliced vegetables. When I first posted this in the morning, I left out that step. Hopefully, everyone got the updated version. Thanks.

  17. This dinner is going back a couple of years, so it's getting foggy. At my age, yesterday is misty. I think it had chicken and vegetables, but I can't really get much more specific than that. All I remember for certain was everything was really, really good.

  18. Yummy Clarrissa, I'm simply going to have to kidnap you and bring you home to cook for me LOL. I can't cook a pot of water, luckily hubby can or else I'd starve LOL. That looks delicious! Maybe I can convince him to try something new LOL. Thanks for the recipe!