Pan Con Tomate
Some version of tomatoes on toast — a juicy American B.L.T. or Italian tomato-topped bruschetta — is always a good idea, but that's especially true during high summer, when tomatoes are at their peak. One superior combination comes from Barcelona, where a slice of toast is rubbed with garlic and juicy ripe tomatoes, then anointed with olive oil. Most Catalan cooks simply cut the tomato crosswise and vigorously massage the toasted bread with the cut side. Others grate the tomato flesh and spoon it over the bread. This version adds tomato slices and a scattering of cherry tomatoes for a substantial first course.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3or 4 very ripe medium tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1pint cherry tomatoes (about 12 ounces)
- 4to 6 large slices sturdy sourdough bread, about 1/2-inch thick
- 4to 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- Salt and pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Step 1Cut 2 tomatoes in half crosswise. Place a box grater in a shallow bowl and grate the tomato flesh from the cut sides, pushing through the large holes. You should have 1 cup or so of coarse tomato purée. Set purée aside, and discard tomato skins.
Step 2Cut remaining large tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Set aside.
Step 3Toast the bread until nicely browned and crisp. (Toasting over a charcoal grill yields a rich, smoky flavor, but a toaster, toaster oven or broiler works just as well.)
Step 4With your fingers, rub the top of each toast with a garlic clove. You will see the cloves get smaller as the garlic is dispersed, pushed into the bread. (For a less garlicky toast, press lightly when rubbing.)
Step 5Place toasts on a platter or individual plates. Spoon and spread a heaping tablespoon of tomato purée over each toast. Then arrange tomato slices and cherry tomatoes randomly on top.
Step 6Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil per toast. Garnish with whole or torn basil leaves, if using.