Catalan Pa amb tomaquet “Bread with Tomato”
Recipe courtesy of Gabrielle
There are a few things my yaya (grandmother in Catalan language) used to make that I intend to recreate for the rest of my life. Pa amb tomaquet is one of them.
Translated, pa amb tomaquet (in Catalan) or pan con tomate (in Spanish) literally means bread with tomato. But it’s so much more than that! It’s a traditional Spanish recipe (eaten a lot in the Catalan region) that’s pretty much a staple with almost every meal. People like to eat it for breakfast or as a snack with cured ham (jamon Serrano) or as an accompaniment to dinner…and sometimes even for dinner.
Traditionally, pa amb tomaquet is made by simply rubbing a garlic clove across the surface of some toasted bread and then mashing a tomato half on the bread until the juice and seeds coat it (the skin and meat of the tomato are discarded). Then you drizzle some olive oil and salt over top. It’s awesome and it looks like this:
But my yaya had a special way of making it, of course. She’d rub the garlic clove across the toasted bread just the same, but then she’d give the tomatoes the mortar and pestle treatment. She’d mash each tomato (one half at a time) until the skin separated, then she’d pick out the skin and spoon all the mashed tomato meat and juice onto the bread. I’m sure she did it this way so as not to waste ANY of that tomato goodness. Smart lady.
When I moved to Barcelona, pa amb tomaquet was one of the first things I sought out. And when homesick and culturally overwhelmed, it became the ultimate comfort food for me. Like a kinship that made me feel connected to that place. An old friend or something. It’s whatever works sometimes…