For the past few weeks Facebook™ has been sending me reminders that I have memories to look at, which brought me to realize it has been two years since I visited beautiful Spain. I wanted to ask Facebook™: Are you sure it’s been two years?!?! I don’t know, it just seems like in my head time doesn’t go by that fast. I glanced at all the pictures from my trip and remembered all the great food I had in Madrid, Barcelona, Mallorca, Segovia & Toledo. Pan con Tomate was the appetizer that I had more often. I was told that this simple appetizer full of flavors has Catalan origins, although I had it for the first time while sitting at a bar in Madrid having a caña (small beer). Then I had it again in Barcelona and again few more times in Mallorca.
Pan con Tomate has no secret preparation, very few ingredients and requires no cooking expertise whatsoever. It is basically a piece of bread, sometimes toasted, sometimes not; rubbed all over with a lengthwise halved tomato, topped with some extra virgin olive oil and salt. That’s it! I believe that what gives this simple and delightful appetizer a knock-out taste is the freshly baked bread along with the freshest tomatoes you can find; which is how food is made in Spain, fresh and delicious! My sister, who lives in Madrid tells me that she makes Pan con Tomate for breakfast often. Well, why wouldn’t you? Add a fried egg on top and I am in total breakfast mood!!!
Our tomato plants are growing quickly and pretty soon I’ll be getting tons of tomatoes from my CSA share; that’s why I thought I should share my version of Pan con Tomate I make at home for my family to eat while waiting for dinner to be ready. I didn’t go the traditional way, I wanted to use my grill, I wanted to have a very strong tomato flavor because I LOVE tomatoes, that’s why I grill the tomatoes and add some tomato paste along with some Spanish paprika to compliment the smoky flavors of the grill. This summer when having people over try this easy and quick recipe, everyone will be asking for more, I promise! Let’s get grilling some Pan con Tomate !!!!
(Serves 6 people)
1 loaf of French bread
2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled & halved length wise
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt to taste
Preheat your grill to medium high. Using a serrated knife cut the bread into 1/4 inch slices. Drizzle the bread slices with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Place the bread and tomatoes on the grill. Cook the tomatoes until the skin is blistered and charred all over, turning every 3 minutes, about 12 minutes total. Cook the bread until charred on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.
Take the bread off the grill and rub the garlic halves all over while the bread is still warm. Move the tomatoes from the grill to a bowl and let cool slightly. When safe to handle, with the help of a paring knife, take the skin off.
Smash the tomatoes with a fork, add the tomato paste, paprika and combine. Add salt to taste. Spoon the tomato mixture all over the bread and serve. Enjoy!
Pan con Tomate is perfect paired with Tinto de Verano!