If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.
— Robert Browning
Today, I pulled all of these ripe tomatoes from our tomato plants:
(There’s a sixth one hiding under there somewhere.) What to do with my bounty? David, despite being the primary caretaker of the tomatoes, does not like them (except in ketchup and tomato sauce), so the tomato-eating duties fall to me. What a shame.
I decided to make what is probably my all-time favorite food, one that takes me back to my time in Spain in high school and college, and one that could almost not be any easier: pa amb tomàquet (in Catalan) or pan con tomate (in Spanish) or tomato bread (in English – duh).
Here’s all you need: a baguette or peasant bread, some tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it.
Here’s how you do it:
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise (or slice the peasant bread in thick slices). (P.S. This baguette was still warm from Panera’s oven when I cut into it this afternoon. Don’t be jealous.)
Slice a tomato in half (not lengthwise – you want the top to be one half and the bottom to be the other half) like this:
Then take one half of the tomato and rub it – firmly – over one side of the cut baguette. Repeat with other tomato half and other baguette half. Don’t be afraid to really squeeze the tomato – you want all of its insides on your bread. Depending on how juicy your tomatoes are, you may need more than one for this step.
Then, if you want (and I did, since this tomato was so fresh), slice up the mutilated tomato and eat it!
Next, drizzle some olive oil over each side of the bread – for this size slices, I used about a teaspoon per slice.
Finally, sprinkle some salt (and pepper if you like – fresh ground is best, but powdered will do) on each slice.
If you try this, an optional step is to toast the bread (or put it under the broiler for a few minutes until it’s crusty) and then rub raw garlic over it before the tomato step. I like it that way as well, but I’m really more of a purist when it comes to this. Also, be careful – a little bit of raw garlic on the toasted bread goes a loooong way.
Then eat. I will not be responsible for any swooning, drooling, fainting, etc, that may occur upon your first taste of this little bit of heaven. I added some thick slices of Swiss cheese on the side (not really what we would have in Spain, but still a great addition), and a little bit of Sangria because, why not?