We had this tapa to start many meals in Spain. Pan con tomate (in Spanish) or pa amb tomàquet (in Catalan) is quite simple but does vary from place to place. The type of bread varies and may or may not be toasted, the tomato might be grated, sometimes there is garlic, and occasionally you prepare it yourself at the table. A friend who grew up in Barcelona showed me how her family makes it, which is what I am sharing here. They use a very specific type of small, juicy tomato for this recipe, and vines of them are sold on strings in the markets. This dish is only as good as the quality of the ingredients, so if you can, splurge on a nice baguette from a bakery, best-quality olive oil, and ripe, in-season tomatoes.
Look for a smaller variety like Campari. Plum, or Roma & cut them in half.
cut into ½-inch (12-mm) slices
cut in half lengthwidse
On a platter, set out the above ingredients plus a small bowl of salt (I use Maldon or kosher) & a small bottle of olive oil. Show guests how to prepare their own tomato bread. Start by rubbing a sliced garlic clove (cut side down) on a slice of bread. Then vigorously squeeze & rub a tomato on the bread leaving lots of seeds & juice. Next add a pinch of salt, followed by a good amount of olive oil. The garlic & tomato halves can each be used on 2 or 3 slices of bread. Optional: top each tomato bread with a thin slice of Manchego cheese.
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