A Spanish How-To...

Aside from red wine, tapas and tortilla espanola, we have fallen in love with a Catalan classic called "Pan Con Tomate," literally "Bread with Tomato."  We have decided as a family (as in, me and Brian) that there will never be another naked piece of bread in our house from here on out!  So we set about learning how to make it and want to share with you too.

Ingredients for Pan Con Tomate: 

1) Bread, preferably some sort of French bread - we're using the short square bread in the photo below

2) Over-ripe Roma tomatoes, or in Spain we ask the people "Tienes tomates para pan con tomate?" Quite literally, "Do you have the tomatoes for bread with tomatoes?"  I'm assuming they're Roma.  They're little and really squishy and juicy.  Lol.

3) Olive oil

4) Un pocito de sal (a little salt)

On a side note, I just love how everything is 'un pocito' around here.  They say it in this sweet little voice.  Do you want just a little bitty bit of bread?  And then they give you half the loaf.  My kind of people.

The two extra (but necessary) ingredients you'll notice in the photo above are red wine and a large baguette of French bread. 

Step one

: Open the bottle of wine. 

Step two

: Pour enough glasses for your chefs. 

Step three

: Nibble on bread and sip wine while you prepare your gourmet bread.  Now onto the preparing of the pan!

First cut the bread in half like you're going to make a sandwich.  Brian and I prefer this square flat bread, almost like sourdough.  But any bread will do!  We've had it on all kinds of French bread cut any which way you can imagine.  The consensus in our piso about the most fun pan con tomate we have had so far was at a neighborhood restaurant in Gracia where we were pulling down the average age by at least 2 decades.  They cut the pan in long thin slices (like my mom used to do with our toast for dipping in hot chocolate) and then they stacked it up high like a log cabin.  Perfect for sharing!  Use your imagination on the slicing and dicing of whatever bread you like.

We've had the bread toasted and not toasted, but seeing as Brian is a warm food kind of guy, we next toast the bread just until it's crisp, not yet brown.  Yes, that microwave-looking thing is also a toaster.  It's a bizarre microwave-toaster-grill.

While the bread is toasting cut your tiny, squishy, juicy tomatoes in half so that there is a top half and a bottom half. (See photo above)  You get the best juices this way.

You can use as many tomatoes as you like to get the desired thickness of tomato pasty goodness.  We got a little over-exuberant on our slicing and only ended up using two tomatoes (four halves) of the four tomatoes we cut.  No pasa nada!  (No worries!)  We just wrapped them in saran wrap and will use them for our pan con tomate tomorrow.

Now for the fun part!  Take one of the halves of bread and one of the halves of tomato and rub the two together.  Squeeze all the yummy, slurpy delicious tomato juice and guts all over the bread using the rind to spread.  You'll end up with only the empty shell of a tomato.  Get messy!

Once you've coated your bread with the desired amount of tomato, it's time to drizzle the Spanish favorite all over your bread...olive oil!  I prefer a lot to make the bread nice and soaked; Brian prefers a little less.

Finally, a pinch of salt all over the bread just to bring the flavors out.

Ta-da!!!  Catalan Pan Con Tomate!!  We toasted ours one more time at the end just to have that fresh, warm-out-of-the-oven feel, but you can skip that if you like.  We think Pan Con Tomate goes best with a little Manchego cheese and your favorite Spanish wine.

Buen provecho!!!