Pa Amb Tomàquet - Catalan Grilled Bread Rubbed with Tomato

Food is central in Catalan life. Tapas bars and casual cafés serve pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) already assembled, but some restaurants merely deliver the components to the table: a piece of chewy bread grilled over a wood fire, a perfectly ripe tomato, fine salt, and local extra-virgin olive oil. Such a simple combination depends entirely on the quality of the ingredients—they have to be perfect. The instructions here are adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Paula Wolfert’s World of Food, with her permission. This is the perfect appetizer for a casual late summer meal. Eat with a knife and fork!

Makes 1 sandwich

2 1/2-inch-thick slices of Pane Sciocco  or Easiest Home-Baked Bread

1 ripe summer tomato

Fine sea salt

Best quality extra-virgin olive oil

Thinly sliced Serrano ham, optional

  1. Lightly toast the slices of bread or grill them over a wood fire.
  2. Cut the tomato in half and rub the toast with it, on both sides if you’d like, while gently squeezing as you would an orange half.
  3. Salt lightly and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with Serrano ham, if desired.