This dish stands as the identity of Catalan cuisine. It is very basic and super simple, but in the same time contains all the aromas of the Mediterranean. Served cold as tapas in any Catalan restaurant or bar or you can enjoy it as a flavorful breakfast as well.
Prep time: 25 min
Difficulty: 🍳 (1/5)
- 4 slices of rustic multigrain bread
- 2 tomatoes
- 2-3 pinches of salt
- 6 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 slices of jamón serrano
It was in August, 2012 when I first went to Catalonia. My good friend Helga came to the airport. I had to wait another day for my other friend to arrive. So instead of Barcelona, I headed to Helga’s hometown, Molins de Rei [muˈɫinz ðə ˈrej]. This tiny town was my first impression of Catalonia. It was summer, so the first thing I felt was the summer heat, then I looked around and I saw the charming little town: the streets were clean and full with flowers. We headed to the local baker and Helga bought some bread.
Then we walked home. She lived on the hilltop, you could see the whole town from there. When we arrived home and introduced me to her family, she asked me if I want some Pa amb tomàquet ? I didn’t know what it was, so I said, yes. Let me tell you, that this simple dish made me fall in love with Catalonia: so humble, but in the same time rich in flavor. That’s when I learned also ‘Gràcies per l’esmorzar!’ (Thank you for the breakfast!) in Catalan. Since then, every summer it’s a must to return to Catalonia.
The dish – as I said – is very simple and it is done in a couple of minutes. The first thing you need to do is to cut the rustic bread as diagonally as you can so you’ll get some long slices. Then place them on a 2 sided electric grill or on a regular one.
Clean the garlic cloves and cut the tomatoes in half sideways (not from he top!), so you get 2 equally juicy halves – this way the heart of the fruit is open on both sides, and can be squeezed easily, just like a lemon.
Grill them on each side until they get nice grill marks and they are hard enough – you can test it by knocking on the bread: if it has a sound then it is done, if not let for a couple of more minutes.
Sprinkle the slices generously with salt on both sides and rub them well with the garlic cloves. If some smaller garlic pieces get in the holes of the bread, let them hide! 😉 Pour on each slice 1-1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
Then take the tomato halves, squeeze and rub them on the bread – each half for 1 slice. Finally fold the jamón serrano sideways and add it to the top of the bread. Pour some more olive oil on top and your amazingly simple dish is done.
- jamón serrano > chorizo sausages, ham, priosciutto crudo, anchovies
- Vegetarian option: jamó serrano > cheese, capers, artichokes