Make an olive tapenade by placing olives, 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, capers and anchovies (optional) in a blender; purée until smooth.
Cut the top off the bread. Scoop out the inside of the bread, leaving 1/2-inch of crust.
Spread the tapenade on the bottom of the cut out loaf. Top with sliced red onion, basil leaves, tomato slices, arugula and mozzarella. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Top the loaf with the previously sliced off piece of bread.
Slice into sandwiches. Leftover tapenade can be served with toast points as part of a charcuterie board.
Chilled Tomato Soup
Purée 1 large can tomatoes with the reserved bread from our Pan Bagnat recipe, 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and a splash of water. Et voila — another great dish is born.
This is a liberal interpretation of Pan Bagnat, a dish popular in Nice (France). In Nice, the sandwiches would most often be filled with the ingredients used to make a Niçoise Salad. Ours boasts a similar Mediterranean attitude, if not using the classic ingredients. As for the scooped out bread, you can use them to make bread crumbs or cut the bread into cubes and use to make a cold tomato soup.