Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Midweek Food Musings: Lovely Tapas Part 1: Pan Con Tomate (Toasted Bread with Tomato)



Pan con Tomate (En Catalán: El pa amb tomàquet )

As we wind down tomato season—and while I’m still enjoying my Post-Barcelona glow—I wanted to share this recipe for Pan Con Tomate. This, my friends, is so simple—yet so lovely and tasty. This three-second-to-prepare snack is one that’s typical Catalán (enjoyed throughout Bareclona, and other parts of  Cataluña); it’s also one of the savory treats I just became re-enamored with.

The beauty of this snack—which could be part of breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a “tapa,” small plate served alongside your favorite sangría or wine (or more!)—is that it is something you can pull together at the last minute. It’s also a perfect use for that country-style bread you bought, but didn’t finish (the one that’s getting a bit hard!). By the way—I was asking about the origin and here’s one that was suggested to me: When they were building the metro in Barcelona, in the 20s, they planted tomatoes next to the streets; the workers collected them to soften the hard bread that they had carried with them. 

But it doesn’t just have to be bread with tomato; for some variety, you can always add some ingredients to the top; some typical favorites are green Spanish olives, paper-thin slices of Spanish ham or procuitto, paper-thin slices of Manchego cheese (I’m drooling!), and/or anchovy fillets.  I’m thinking that perhaps for next Sunday—or even for Thanksgiving (or both!), I’ll try some different ways of preparing it…and will share!

So what are important keys for this simple recipe? As always, the quality of ingredients will make a big difference…so the better the bread (albeit a day or two old!) tomatoes, and olive oil—and whatever you choose to put on top—the better the results.

Pan con Tomate  

Thanks to Victoria's mom Raffa, who made this gorgeous  tortilla española, we enjoyed both with café con leche seaside (yes--while facing the Mediterranean!) in Mora, near Tarragona, Spain. 
About 8 servings
 Pan con Tomate (El pa amb tomàquet )

As we wind down tomato season—and while I’m still enjoying my Post-Barcelona glow—I wanted to share this recipe for Pan Con Tomate. This, my friends, is so simple—yet so lovely and tasty. This three-second-to-prepare snack is one that’s typical Catalán (enjoyed throughout Bareclona, and other parts of  Cataluña); it’s also one of the savory treats I just became re-enamored with. 

The beauty of this snack—which could be part of breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a “tapa,” small plate served alongside your favorite sangría or wine (or more!)—is that it is something you can pull together at the last minute. It’s also a perfect use for that country-style bread you bought, but didn’t finish (the one that’s getting a bit hard!). By the way—I was asking about the origin and here’s one that was suggested to me: When they were building the metro in Barcelona, in the 20s, they planted tomatoes next to the streets; the workers collected them to soften the hard bread that they had carried with them.  

But it doesn’t just have to be bread with tomato; for some variety, you can always add some ingredients to the top; some typical favorites are green Spanish olives, paper-thin slices of Spanish ham or procuitto, paper-thin slices of Manchego cheese (I’m drooling!), and/or anchovy fillets.  I’m thinking that perhaps for next Sunday—or even for Thanksgiving (or both!), I’ll try some different ways of preparing it…and will share! 

So what are important keys for this simple recipe? As always, the quality of ingredients will make a big difference…so the better the bread (albeit a day or two old!) tomatoes, and olive oil—and whatever you choose to put on top—the better the results. 

Pan con Tomate  

About 8 servings 

8 slices of bread—preferably country or Italian style, cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
4 cloves garlic peeled and cut in half

4 small ripe tomatoes cut in half or about a cup of fresh-grated tomatoes (you can cut them in half, and grate them using a cheese grater)
 
Extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper  

Grill or toast the bread for about 2 to 4 minutes per side (you just want it lightly toasted).   
Once the bread is toasted but still warm, rub the cut side of a 1/2 clove of garlic (or more or less according to taste; use a fresh piece for each slice). Then  rub the tomato (cut side) over the bread, pressing firmly to push the pulp into the bread (or, if you’ve grated before, spoon over the toasted bread) until the toast is covered with tomato. (Don’t use the skin, though.) After that, drizzle olive oil over the bread and tomatoes. Finish with a sprinkle of salt and some fresh ground pepper (as desired). Serve immediately.
Here you can see my pan con tomate--with a green salad, vegetable tempura, and a dollop of Romesco Sauce (recipe to come!)--This was my first "Spain Redux" dinner...and I'm planning more, of course!


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