Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Words & Brush Recipe Corner: Tunisian tuna and preserved lemon sandwich

Tunisian tuna and preserved lemon sandwich

Recipe by Vered Guttman


Imagine a large bread roll stuffed with canned tuna, tomato sauce, preserved lemon, harissa, warm potato, half-boiled egg and chopped vegetable salad. This is the classic Tunisian sandwich, a take on the French pan bagnat tuna sandwich. But you can think of it as the best tuna salad sandwich you’ll ever have.

The sandwich was brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews, and although it is not the most popular street food, it can still be found in the Shouk in Natanya, Ramla and Tel Aviv. The Israeli version changed a bit over the years and does not include tomato sauce, for example.

The original sandwich is made with fried bread roll called fricassee. We will use regular Italian sandwich rolls (or any roll you prefer) to make the process much simpler and less oily.

Preserved lemon is available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s (around the winter holidays, for some reason) and at Middle Eastern and some Kosher supermarkets. Or make your own, which is both easy and so much better in taste. Recipe here.

Harissa sauce is available at Whole Foods, Middle Eastern and Israeli supermarkets. Or better yet, make it yourself.



Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • 4 eggs

  • Italian sub rolls or any long shaped rolls

  • Harissa (recipe here or store bought)

  • Two 7 oz. cans tuna in olive oil, drained

  • ¼ – ⅓ cup Preserved lemon, chopped (recipe here or store bought)

  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced

  • 4 green onions, sliced

  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  • Cook skin on potato in salted water until tender. Cool until warm and slice to ¼ inch slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  • Bring salted water to boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Use a spoon to put the eggs in the water, bring back to boil, cook for 7 minutes and transfer to ice water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Split each bread roll lengthwise and spread the bottom half with about 1 tablespoon harissa. Crumble tuna on top of the harissa then sprinkle with chopped preserved lemon. Arrange sliced potato and sliced egg, olives, green onion and cilantro. Put the top half on top of the cilantro and press using your hand to let the flavors run into the bread, and serve.


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