Saturday 22nd October 2011.
Pa amb tomaquet, or tomato bread in English, is a national treasure here in Catalonia. Learning how to make this properly is a rite of passage when you live here.
When I first moved here one of the first things my students wanted to know was if I knew how to make ‘Pa amb tomaquet’. There is the belief that anybody outside Catalonia wouldn’t understand the intricacies of it’s making.
I was told this story when I first arrived here.
A Catalan man was travelling to Madrid. He stopped to get refreshments in a road side cafe. When he was asked what he wanted to eat he told them he wanted ‘pan con tomato’. The waiter didn’t bat an eye lid but just took the order back to the kitchen. When he returned with the food the Catalan man exclaimed;
“That’s not what I asked for!”
The waiter had brought out bread with slices of tomato on top.
This, I was told, is a cardinal sin & proof, if anyone ever needed it, that if you step one foot over the county border they won’t have a clue what you are talking about.
I made it my business to learn how to make it as soon as possible.
It’s toasted bread, rubbed with garlic & dribbled with olive oil. Then cut a ripe tomato in half & rub it on the bread. Finally sprinkle a little salt on top.
Not that difficult after all.