When I lived in Spain I ate this almost every day. I say ‘lived’ although it was actually just a summer. A long hot summer, every day lying by the poolside in an impossibly picturesque Catalan mountain village. I was lucky enough to be living with a local family who owned a huge house in the village, and cooked delicious and plentiful food every night. And almost every day for breakfast I had this – pan con tomate. Originally – and still to this day – a way to use up day old bread, dried by the heat.
Due to climate, the heat but also to the generally laid back culture and lifestyle of this happy region, Catalans (at least all the ones I met) eat late – very late. Usually having just a coffee before work which starts early to avoid the heat of the sun, they have a longish break at around 11am for breakfast – and this snack is likely to be on the menu, perhaps augmented with some sharp manchego cheese or a slither of jambon. The parents of the family I lived with then worked until around 4pm, before returning home for the main meal of the day. A long siesta followed. The children played – I went to the swimming pool. Families organised things, talked, did chores once it was a little cooler, until around 10pm, when they ate dinner and retired for the night.
During my summer I enjoyed fresh seafood from the Catalan coast, chicken fried in the family’s own olive oil, and copious amounts of vegetables. I devoured huge tomatoes bursting with sweet juice, mammoth gnarled red and green peppers and blackened aubergines. Bread was from the tiny village stop, brought from the main town each morning. Often washed down with a beer, or their wine, a heady, fruity punch of sunshine. I put on a stone in weight, and had the time of my life.
As a second best, but not too shabby reproduction of this wonderful food, I took home with me the ‘idea’ (I can hardly call it a recipe) for tomato bread. Make it with the best bread, olive oil, tomatoes and basil you can find – ideally in the late summer. Open a bottle of Priorat wine and just pretend 🙂
Pan con Tomate
1/2 a small day old baguette, sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and the end chopped off
1 tomato, cut in half
large handful of basil
salt and pepper
1. Rub the cut side end of the garlic over each slice of bread.
2. Rub the cut side of the tomatoes over the bread, squeezing all the juice out so that it sinks into the bread.
3. Tear up the basil and scatter over the top.
4. Season and drizzle very liberally with excellent quality olive oil – preferably spanish.
As an almost ancient frugal recipe – I’m linking up with Credit Crunch Munch. Apologies it’s not a ‘proper’ recipe – but it really is a delicious way to use up leftovers. This scheme, devised by Camilla and Helen is hosted this month with Utterly Scrummy, a food blog jam packed with tasty treats, run by Michelle. Head on over for some more ideas!
I’m also linking up with Elizabeth’s lovely blog Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, as she’s running a No Waste Food Challenge – and this certainly stops you throwing away leftover bread – in fact, you may end up over buying in order to be sure of leftovers for this one 🙂
And due to the peppery garlicky nature of this (love it) and the fact I made them, by coincidence on National Garlic Day this Sunday just gone (!) I’m entering them into the lovely Charlotte’s #FoodYearLinkup – have a look at her calendar to see what’s coming up next!