Do we really need a recipe for this? Probably not, but here’s one that gives this most basic of dishes that extra twist of taste helping to make your humble tomato on toast stand out from the crowd. It’s the garlic that gives it that Catalan hint of pa amb tomàquet while the sea salt brings in that whiff of the Mediterranean. If you need something more substantial, then add the optional ham or anchovies. (We didn’t.)
- 2 thick slices of bread
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- anchovy fillets or ham (optional)
Toast or grill the bread.
Cut the garlic in two and rub well but carefully over one side of each slice of toast.
Then, cut the tomatoes in half.
Rub the cut side of the tomatoes over each slice of toast, gradually squeezing out all the flesh and seeds until you are left with just the skin. Discard the skin.
Drizzle olive oil over each slice and then sprinkle with sea salt and serve.
If you want something a little more substantial you can do what many in Catalonia do which is to top each slice with some ham (they use jamòn ibérico) or a couple of anchovy fillets.
Go for the softest, juiciest tomatoes you can find. If the flesh is too hard you’ll find it almost impossible to squeeze it out. In which case, try using a cheese grater. Grate the cut sides into a bowl until you are left with just the skins. Then spread the contents of the bowl on the toast.
Pa amb tomàquet is a classic Catalan breakfast dish where they use bread that is really rustic and crusty, with that rough kind of texture that will help ‘grate’ the garlic and the tomatoes. In Catalonia they generally use day-old pan de cristal (pa de vidre), a particularl type of artisan bread which is most commonly found in that region. If serving to a group of people, Catalans tend to leave out the stage of rubbing the tomato on the toast. They prepare the toast and garlic, but grate or squeeze the tomatoes into a communal bowl (half a tomato for each slice of toast), then let everyone dress their own toast with the tomato, oil and salt.