Tomato-Rubbed Bread ~ Pa Amb Tomàquet

Two slices of tomato rubbed bread and three tomato halves that have been rubbed on the bread.

There is probably nothing more typically or uniquely Catalan or Majorcan than tomato-rubbed bread, or 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 vegetables, or anchovy fillets. 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, 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 and a café con leche, it makes an ideal country breakfast.

The bread generally consists of wide slices of pa de pagès (crusty Catalan round-loaf country bread), but sliced baguette 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.–Jeff Koehler

LC Timing Is Everything

This little tomato-rubbed bread number will be exponentially better come late summer, natch. Until then, use the loveliest tomatoes you can find…along with a touch of your imagination.

Tomato-Rubbed Bread | Pa Amb Tomàquet

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 10 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 6
5/5 - 4 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

If the bread you’re using is a baguette or is day-old bread, proceed to step 2. If it’s not a baguette or day-old bread, lightly toast the slices at a low-temperature in the oven or, if you’re lucky enough to have a gas grill or a gas stove, toast the slices over a gas flame.

If using the garlic, hold it over the bread as you would hold an eraser over a sheet of paper and repeatedly rub it against the bread. Do the same with the tomato halves, rubbing them firmly against the bread while squeezing them slightly to help release some of the tomato juices, until the slices of bread are reddish and moist. (Some Italians choose to rub the tomato and garlic on both sides of each slice of bread, in which case the slices will need to be eaten with a fork and knife.)

If the slices of bread are particularly large, cut them in half. Place a single layer of the tomato-rubbed bread on a platter. Generously moisten the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Repeat, stacking layers of tomato-rubbed bread or arranging them on a platter or a cutting boar, drizzling ever so lightly with oil and sprinkling with salt until you’re out of slices. Serve immediately.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I love this type of recipe--simple in its ingredients and preparation, but full of flavor. This traditional Spanish recipe for tomato-rubbed bread makes a lovely addition to your next tapas presentation, charcuterie board, or even as a small bite with cocktails. It's simply sliced baguette or toasted country bread rubbed with garlic and fresh tomatoes and drizzled with quality olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. I used half a whole-wheat baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices, and this was a pre-dinner small bite for 4 people. I imagine the whole baguette would be enough for 6 to 8 people. A lovely, simple recipe sure to please!

I've made tomato-rubbed bread (pa amb tomàquet) for many years, and I have one piece of advice: If you're getting into a car or some kind of close quarters with others right after this, make sure everyone eats the same thing, or you may "offend" them with your garlic breath! This is one of my favorite Catalan breakfast specialties. I used a gluten-free boule and cut each slice in half. Then I lightly toasted it under the broiler and followed the directions. The final taste is strong yet delicate, garlicky, moist from the tomato and olive oil, and close to a very simplified bruschetta. My suggestion, as I was taught back in Spain, is to have all the ingredients ready on the table, then when the bread is warmed up, have each person prepare his or her own slice. One slice is the perfect amount per person, as the slices are pretty large.

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Comments

    1. ‘Tis, linda. And surprisingly good. We were at a paella party this weekend, and one of the hosts served this. I was taken back to Barcelona, where The One and I sat in a restaurant on the water’s edge eating pa-amb tomàquet while waiting for our entrees.

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