This Provençal classic – essentially a salade Niçoise in a sandwich – is the French equivalent of our Cornish pasty, supposedly a handy way for labourers to transport a healthy lunch. My version isn’t entirely authentic. I’ve added mozzarella, which no self-respecting Frenchman would do, and have made it as one giant sandwich, but when you cut it open you’ll see that it contains all that is good about summer.
First make the tapenade. Put the olives, garlic, capers, anchovies, olive oil and vinegar in a blender and mix well. (If making this by hand rather than in a food processor, you can combine everything in a mortar.) Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Set aside.
Meanwhile, place a griddle pan over a high heat. Once hot, toss the courgette slices in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and griddle them on either side until golden and charred. Set aside to cool slightly.
Slice a ‘lid’ off the loaf about 4cm from the top. Scoop out the doughy middle of the bread, leaving a 2.5cm shell. (The bread removed can be turned into crumbs and frozen for later use.) Spread the inside of the loaf with the tapenade. Store any extra tapenade in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Line the insides of the loaf with the slices of Parma ham overlapping them and leaving an inch or so overhanging at the top. Arrange the remaining ingredients inside the prepared shell, using a quarter of them at a time, so that you have 4 layers of each: for example, use a quarter of the peppers, followed by a quarter of the mozzarella and so on until you reach the top of the loaf. Fold the overhanging edges of Parma ham back to the top of the filling to enclose it. Place the lid firmly on top and wrap tightly in cling film. Chill for 2 hours, or overnight if not using straight away.
To serve, unwrap the loaf and slice into wedges or thick slices.