Simple, Delicious: Traditional Catalan Tomato Bread

Pa amb tomaquét or “bread with tomato.” It’s different than pizza and it’s not quite bruschetta either: it’s its own animal, and it’s delicious, and simple to make!

I enjoyed this dish in Barcelona last May and I ordered it at almost every meal! Trust me, it’s worth putting in your recipe book. And it’s so simple, you’ll be able to make it in minutes.

To make this dish: juicy vine tomatoes are rubbed over crusty bread, which is then sprinkled with good olive oil. That’s it! Some people like to add a pinch of fine grained salt or a rub of garlic onto the bread as well, but these are both optional additions.

To make this bread in an authentic way, there are a few things to keep in mind about the ingredients. I received some tips from my guide in Barcelona regarding how to make this dish traditionally, just like they would in the region of Catalonia.

Bread: You can use any good bread for this dish. However, the crustier bread is preferable (I used a round loaf of sourdough this time).

Two types of bread are commonly used in Barcelona: Pan de Cristal (“glass bread”)  and also rounded loaves of crusty bread.

Pan de Cristal was what I encountered at most restaurants, but my guide said that round loaves are commonly used as well. She linked me to this example of a loaf of “round bread” that one might see used for the recipe.

Toasting the Bread: Some people toast the bread, but if you have bread that is fresh, there’s no need. The key here is to “eat it as fresh as you can.”

Olive Oil: Try to get your hands on some good Arbequina Olive Oil; I picked some up at a gourmet food store. The guide told me it’s one of the “most used” olive oils in Catalonia.

Tomato: Try to use small ripe vine tomatoes. However, any ripe, juicy tomatoes will do the trick. Cut the tomatoes in half before you rub them onto the bread. You are going to want to rub the smooth sides of the tomatoes, with the exposed seeds, against the bread.

Garlic: Some people rub garlic on the bread before the tomato, but this isn’t the most authentic way to create the dish.

Pa amb tomaquét is often enjoyed in the early hours, for breakfast. I was told that since people don’t want to carry around the odor of garlic all day, they will usually not add the garlic. This is one of the reasons you won’t generally see it added in Barcelona!

Salt: This is optional. If you choose to use it make sure it’s a fine grained salt.

That’s it. Happy cooking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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