Perhaps invented as a way to rescue old, dry bread, and to take advantage of the tomatoes that grow so abundantly in the summer garden, there is probably nothing more typically (or uniquely) Catalan or Mallorcan than bread rubbed with tomato, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt. Pa amb tomàquet—in Spanish, it is called pan con tomate—is commonly eaten with slices of cured cold cuts, cheeses, roasted escalivada vegetables, or anchovy fillets. It can be part of a tapas spread, the basis of a meal, or an accompaniment to grilled meats, and is not infrequently prepared for breakfast. With some slices of aged cheese or chorizo (or, the best of the best, a wedge of leftover Potato and Onion Egg Tortilla) and a cafe con leche, it makes an ideal country breakfast.
The bread is generally wide slices of pa de pagès (crusty Catalan round-loaf country bread), but a baguette sliced horizontally will work, too. Toasting the bread makes it easier to rub with the garlic and tomato; if using baguette, skip the toasting. You can taste the olive oil here, so be sure to use the best in the pantry.
Some choose to rub the tomato and oil on both sides of the bread, in which case the slices need to be eaten with a fork and knife.
- 8 - 12 slices of hearty country-style bread
- 1 garlic glove, peeled
- 3 -4 very ripe tomatoes, halved crosswise
- Flaky sea salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Toast the slices of bread. If using the garlic, hold it like an eraser and rub the bread. Rub the tomatoes firmly over the bread while slightly squeezing to help release some of the juices, until the slices are reddish and moist.
If the slices are particularly large, cut them in half. On a large platter, place a bottom layer of bread. Generously moisten with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Stack on another layer of slices and repeat with oil and salt. Repeat as necessary until all of the ingredients are used. Serve immediately.