You will see Catalan tomato bread at many restaurants and tapas bars in Barcelona—and that’s a very good thing, because it is insanely delicious for such a simple preparation. Grill bread. Rub with tomato. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt. That’s it. Of course, you’ll need really good bread. And, for maximum impact, you’ll need really ripe, red tomatoes. But remember, pa amb tomàquet is not bread with tomatoes on it; it’s more like bread painted with tomatoes. Once the painting is done, you could add a few flourishes to the canvas, as the Catalans do: slices of ham, anchovies, fine canned tuna in olive oil. Or you can eat the slices all by their blessed selves. Bring the first batch to the buffet table at the start of the party; it can stand for quite a while.
- 36 slices of good country-style French or Italian bread, cut 5/8 inch thick
- 18 large, high-quality canned tomatoes, such as Muir Glen brand, drained very well (see Note)
- Best-quality extra virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish), for drizzling
- Kosher salt
1. Place the bread slices over a charcoal fire or under a heated broiler until they’re dark golden brown on both sides. (Work in batches; see Cook’s Note below.)
2. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and, using half a tomato for each slice of toast, rub the tomato into the toast (on one side only). As you rub, let the tomato collapse into a thin red layer of flesh and seeds and juice, completely covering the surface of each slice. Discard any remaining tomato pulp, or reserve for another use. Drizzle each slice with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with a few grains of salt, and serve.
Nutritional information includes 1 teaspoon of added salt and 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil drizzled on each slice of bread.