Celebrate Tomato Season! Tomaquet: Catalan Tomato Bread

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I have just harvested my first ripe red tomato, and now I am going to celebrate by sharing my favorite tomato recipes (other than sauce). This first recipe is called tomaquet in Spanish, and I only recently discovered it on my trip to Barcelona.

When Eve and I first arrived at our hotel, they brought us bread with a side of olive oil, garlic mayo, and what looked like raw tomato pulp. I was fascinated, and soon discovered that the raw tomato pulp thing is sort of a national dish of Catalan. And it’s so freaking easy to make that I am simply stunned that I had never heard of it before.  Within a week of getting home, Eve and her six friends who were sleeping over were devouring it like it was the most delicious thing in the world—which is saying something, since it was made with supermarket tomatoes.  I did a Google search for “tomato pulp from Barcelona” and learned that the dish is called tomaquet.

I asked Rodale Inc.’s partner from Spain, Alberto Saborido, about tomaquet, and he waxed poetic for a good 15 minutes about how it was his favorite food and essential to Barcelona. Traditionally, he said, you just cut a tomato in half and rub it on toasted bread and add salt and olive oil. But that is said with the nonchalance of a Spaniard who just assumes all bread is good, and all olive oil is virgin, and all tomatoes are still grown on the vine (well, actually, he did complain about the state of tomatoes these days). It’s kind of a form of bruschetta, but I have to say, it’s so much better and more interesting. So here goes:

Tomaquet

Ingredients:

1 or 2 ripe, organic tomatoes
Pinch (or two) of salt
Really good olive oil
Crusty bread like ciabatta
Raw garlic (optional and totally not required)

Directions:

1. Wash the tomato, cut off a bit of the end, and grate it over a bowl using a cheese grater.
2. Add salt.
3. Toast the bread (not required).
4. If you are going to use the garlic, rub a cut clove over the bread.
5. Spread tomato pulp onto bread.
6. You can use the olive oil (REQUIRED) in two different ways: Either drizzle it over the bread after you spoon the tomaquet onto it, or add the olive oil to the tomato mixture before spreading it onto the bread.

It goes in this order: crusty bread, optional raw garlic, tomato pulp with salt, olive oil. EAT!

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14 Responses to Celebrate Tomato Season! Tomaquet: Catalan Tomato Bread

  1. Carole Smith July 18, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    That sounds so good and so easy!!!

  2. kao July 18, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    This sounds super yummy and easy! woo hoo!! This is a recipe I won’t completely mess up (hopefully)! :)

  3. Laura K. July 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Yummmmm…can’t wait to try it. Bonus- the tomato bits won’t fall in my lap the way bruschetta does.

  4. Locasta July 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    This is NOT the real thing. Grating a tomato is what they do in other parts of Spain trying to copy us. As you said, it is called ” tomaquet ” in SPANISH but not in Catalonia – the correct name is ” pà amb tomaquet”. We do that every time we eat a sandwich. Contrary to what your partner Alberto says, you don´t need to toast bread; we never do it at home. You get toast bread when you go to a restaurant!! So usually, you just have to rub half a tomato on bread, put some oil and salt if desired. Oh, and we really have to look for GOOD bread, olive oil and tomato!! Where did you get this information that we assume all bread, olive oil and tomato is good????

  5. Victoria July 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Wow, Locasta… you sound like a jerk. There is such a thing as REGIONAL VARIATION as well as variation in each family, just like any other food shared within a culture. Why couldn’t you have just graciously added your own personal variation of the dish without sounding like an uppity snob?

  6. Locasta July 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    To Victoria:
    I think you didn´t understand what I meant. ” Pá amb Tomaquet ” is not ANY regional variation, it is the typical way of eating bread in Catalonia and there is no variation in each family either. It is just the way to eat it, rubbing the tomato.
    No need to insult either. I guess you lack the knowledge of how Spain really is. A little bit of more information is always valuable. Start with Catalonia, please.

  7. maria barreto July 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    Having the Spanish heritage, its nice to see and here that a simple recipe is still so delicous and good for you. Thanks for sharing and enjoying Espana!

  8. maria (farm country kitchen) July 18, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    Dear Locasta, Thanks for the official Catalonia version! I agree “a little bit of more information is always valuable!”

  9. Donna in Delaware July 19, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    See Maria, I told you about that “Catalan & Spanish” thing going on in Spain! Remember from your blog about your visit to Barcelona? It’s a touchy subject over there.

  10. James Early July 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Well, my tomatoes are not even near ripe. But when they are, watch out!

  11. Paula in NYC July 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Wow, bread and tomatoes are the divine combination in any culture, and I can tell you that my Greek friends swear that their daily snack and/or breakfast is to split a good long roll, cut a ripe tomato and simply rub the tomato on the bread; and if they want to they drizzle some olive oil, or add some salt, or some oregano maybe. For a more substantial snack, they might crumble some feta on top of the tomato. Grating is fine, too. They are not above taking a tomato salad (chopped tomatoes and olive oil with oregano and maybe a bit of onion) and stuffing it into a piece of bread. How authentic is it? I don’t think they care. They are pretty laid back about it and I love that in this intense world. All they care about (and me, too) is how great the tomatoes and bread work either solo or as the foundation for a little more jazzing up. Hmmm . . . I recall that Harriet the Spy ate tomato sandwiches every day . . .though not in the mediterranean way . . . whereas I grew up down South with slices of super-ripe tomatoes from my grandmother’s garden, a side of fresh cooked blackeyed peas, and a wedge of hot buttered corn bread. A green onion dipped in salt might add some pizzaz but wasn’t necessary. Wherever you are, it all revolves around the best, ripest tomatoes.

  12. Sharon July 20, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    This took me right down memory lane to the bright tomatoes of my childhood. San Joaquin Valley…they were beyond sweet from all the 110 degree days. Mom used to have to caution us to leave some tomatoes for dinner. Sweet…memories and tomatoes!

  13. Robin Ivey July 21, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    Well, EVERYBODY! I am from Alabama..I grew up on a farm eating tomatoes every way possible. The best way is on loaf bread with Dukes mayo, salt and pepper..Soo sooo good the juice just runs down your arms..Thats a yummy mater sandwich..I also like Paula’s version of eating tomatoes too..peas and cornbread..Yummy!
    Happy eating,

  14. Milcia July 21, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    Hola!, I live in Madrid right now and grew up in Southern Spain where “pan con tomate” is a daily breakfast, in CATALAN of course it has its own name in the catalan language, but its the same concept as in the south.
    The bread IS toasted (specially if you want to rub the garlic and tomato, you need a ruff surface) and the tomatoes ARE grated, (less mess than rubbing it on the bread and you can grate several and place in the fridge for the next day) garlic is optional but worth having, I put whole garlic cloves inside my virgin olive oil bottle (which I get from my godparents yearly olive harvest and freshly pressed green intense olive oil) just wanted to flaunt a little sorry :-).. so that the olive oil gets infused with the garlic and so no need to get your fingers all smelly, then add salt, course salt is best ,but thats up to you. and thats how its done in Andalucia, Spain!! YOU MUST TRY IT!
    Besos!

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