Prepare the perfect Catalan tomato bread (pa amb tomàquet)

13 February 2018

This simple typical Catalan dish (known in Catalan as pa amb tomàquet) has won fans all over Spain and further afield. It makes a great informal cold supper, improvised afternoon snack or healthy breakfast. Although it couldn’t be easier to make—all you have to do is rub some bread with ripe tomatoes—here are some handy tips for the perfect finish:

To make it:

– Use decent bread, traditionally a white country loaf. You want a light, white flour loaf with a neutral taste rather than a heavy, wholemeal loaf or sweeter spelt bread. Crispy flatbreads work fantastically also.

– Use well-ripened tomatoes: the juicier the better, as it’s the pulp you’re interested in. Cut them in half and rub directly onto the bread. You can toast the bread beforehand if you want.

– Only use extra-virgin olive oil. This is where much of the flavour comes from, so you want a flavoursome, top-class olive oil. And don’t be shy about it: tasty tomato bread calls for plenty of good olive oil.

– Finish off with a pinch of salt and you’re good to go. Some people like to rub their bread with garlic first of all. That’s not the orthodox version, but hey! there’s always room for experimentation in cooking.

To serve:

– With cold cuts, chorizo, cured ham… Or with a side salad. Et voilà! A quick and easy supper to impress any guest!

– With cheese. A cheese board, white wine, good music, plenty of time… Go on, enjoy life!

– With meat. In Catalonia, tomato bread is a must at any barbecue. It works wonders with all barbecued meat, vegetables and potatoes. Guard it with your life!

– To make rolls. Nothing livens up a roll or sandwich like tomato bread. Soon you won’t leave the house without a tomato in your pocket.

– With avocado. What better breakfast than tomato bread with avocado, fresh cheese and sesame seeds? Packed with nutrients and healthy fats from the avocado and extra-virgin olive oil, it’s a feast for body and soul. Some people are happy with just tomato bread, fruit juice and coffee for breakfast; others add some turkey or ham on top. Either way, it’s a great way to start the day.

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