Thanks to the Catalonians I have a new favorite way of having bread! Well, I had tried it before but I was in Barcelona a few weeks ago and I was reminded of this simple but very tasty way to enjoy bread. Probably the most complicated thing about it is its name. Visit a Spanish restaurant in England or the US and you will probably find it on the menu as “Pan Catalan.” However, if you are actually in Barcelona or elsewhere in Catalonia, its simply called “bread with tomato” which in Catalan is “pa amb tomàquet.” In parts of Spain outside of Catalonia its usually referred to as “pan tumaca.”
Pa amb tomàquet is fun to make. It’s got a ceremony to it. At many Catalonian restaurants you will be served bread with a couple of tomatoes and garlic cloves on the side. First take a thick slice of coarse toasted country bread. Cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the cut side all over the bread. Next cut a juicy ripe red tomato in half and rub that on the garlicky bread squeezing as you rub. Finish off with a generous drizzle of heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste and enjoy with a meal, as an appetizer, a snack or even breakfast!
Another similar take on the same thing is “pan con tomate.” A popular breakfast in Andalusia, this toast with tomato is served in nearly every bar. Ask for tostada (de barra) con tomate. You will be presented with toasted country bread, a small bowl of blended/pureed tomato and a set of olive oil vinegar and salt so you can add the amounts you want. It’s great way to wake up, especially if you are not into sweet breakfasts.