Pa amb tomàquet, (bread with tomato) along with all i oli, is perhaps the most well known item in Catalonian cuisine. It’s an old way of preparing bread, originated in the country side, when bread was cooked one or two times a week. Of course it is as old as the discovery of America by Colón (Columbus), that brought tomatoes to Europe. For the original pa amb tomàquet, pa de pagès (country-style bread) is a must.


Pa amb tomàquet at its best must use bread that is two or three days old. That is the origin of this preparation, to make stale bread comestible.
Cut the bread in slices, the idea is that whatever the shape of the bread, you’ll end with a flat surface, a good sliced bread. Cut the tomato in half crosswise, and rub the tomato against the bread. As the bread is stale, a bit of the tomato will crumble in it. Put the salt, two or three picks would suffice. Then distribute oil in the surface of the sliced bread, trying not to soak it.

If you don’t have stale bread, or you just want to do pa torrat amb all i tomàquet you can put it on the toaster, or better, grill the bread lightly on a wood-burning fire . With this, we’ll get the surface of the sliced bread hardened enough to rub the tomato against it, but also, we can introduce another ingredient: rubbed garlic. You must rub the garlic before the tomato. Please use fresh garlic and peel the cloves prior to use.

Pa amb tomàquet is perfect to accompany sausages and anchovy fillets. It makes also a very good appetizer or snack, like garlic bread.

Sliced bread with sliced tomato on top is not proper pa amb tomàquet. Tomato must be rubbed, so don’t ever try with tomato sauce, as you have to end with a thin red film, including some seeds and bits of tomato flesh in the bread.

Thanks to Jinmyo, The Alchemist, Johnny5D and the whole cheddarbox for helping me to find the best words to explain this recipe.