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by on March 9th, 2013

Spanish-Style Tomato Toast (pan con tomate)

A tapas I almost forgot.

Tomato toast two ways.

It has been over two years since we went to Spain and I really think that was one of the most memorable trips we have taken. I love tapas and anything served in small plates; and this Catalan recipe will certainly please.

Years ago after my oldest son graduated from college he went to Spain for 5 months to study Spanish. One night he called and was telling me all about what he had been doing and he told me he had been to a Tapas bar. Ok, I knew what tapas were even back in 1997 but for some reason when he said it I thought he said “topless bar”. Funny, huh. Since then I have always been careful how I have said the word. Not that topless bars wouldn’t serve good food (I seriously doubt it) I just don’t want to get the two confused.

One of my favorite tapas bars, other than the ones we visited in Spain, is in Chicago and I probably have mentioned it before — Mercat. If you find yourself in Chicago and you’re in the Michigan Avenue area, please go, you won’t regret it.

In Spain one morning I had tomato toast for breakfast along with a glass of canned fruit cocktail drained and covered with orange juice; and the second time was at a small tapas bar just around the corner from Picasso’s museum (EL XAMPANYET Montcada). Very tasty tomato toast and I was intrigued; just one more thing in this world I had not experienced.

I remember researching this tomato toast recipe when we returned and found there were a couple of ways of making it. All recipes started with a grilled/toasted slice of baguette and then it was rubbed with a clove of garlic. The next step was to take a fresh cut (halved) tomato and rubbed back and forth across the rough surface of the toast then drizzle with some olive oil and a good sprinkle of sea salt. The other way was to use a box grated and grate the tomato (don’t use skin) and then put some of the pulp on top of the grilled baguette then drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. I’m trying both ways to see what results I like the best.

I served my tomato toast with a Cheesy Vegetable Soup.  This tomato toast would be good with some sort of egg dish for breakfast, with a soup like I did or just as a quick little appetizer to go with a glass of wine. I think the most important thing would be to have a really good tomato. The tomato toast is only going to be good as the tomato, so have the freshest/ripest one you can find. In February the closest thing I came to a fresh garden tomato was cluster tomatoes that are still on the vine in bunches. You will also want to use a rustic type bread because when you toast it there will be a rougher/courser surface which you will rub your garlic and tomato on. I don’t think the soft type baguettes would not work nearly as well.

Hope you will try this and if you do, please leave a comment below.

(In the end, I liked both ways about the same. My husband liked the one with the grated tomato. One of the pictures below shows the tomato toast from Spain which was the rubbed version.)

BLAST FROM THE PASTTapas, Tapas, everywhere… there are some wonderful tapas pictures here and some you don’t even need a recipe for.

This is the tomato toast from Spain. I actually still know the name of the tapas bar (EL XAMPANYET Montcada) if anyone is going to be there. We had about 8 tapas before we left this place.

My sea salt is from France and so is the Thyme/Rosemary olive oil. I had been wanting to try the oil and this was the perfect thing to try it on.

One half will be use to grate with a grater and the other half will be use to rub over the toasted bread. Use very ripe tomatoes. My garlic was a little on the strong side and one swipe of the toast with it would have been enough. I rubbed back and forth several times.

First brush your baguette slices with olive oil then you can toast/grill/panini your bread.

Grate tomato over bowl or cutting board.

Throw the skin away or freeze and throw in pot of soup.

This is the tomato toast that had the tomato rubbed across surface several times and this was the method used on the toast we had in Spain.

The slices on the right are the ones with grated tomato pulp. Both are drizzled with more olive oil at the end and a sprinkle of sea salt. You could always add a sprinkle of fresh basil but then to me that would become bruschetta.

Spanish-Style Tomato Toast

1 rustic baguette, sliced a little over 1/4″ thick up to 1/2″ thick
1 large clove garlic
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 very ripe large tomato
fleue de sel sea salt, to taste
jamòn serrano, optional

Brush the baguette slices with olive oil. I browned my on panini grill (didn’t shut the lid). or you could brown at 500° in oven for about 8 minutes.

Rub the garlic over cut surface of the bread slices and drizzle with olive oil.

If you want to try the grater version, put the grater into bowl and grate the tomato using the largest holes. Remove skin from bowl.  Spoon some of the grated tomato onto toast and sprinkle with your sea salt.

Whichever version you do, topping with some thin slices of jamòn serrano would be wonderful.

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