Every region of Spain has its own tapas dishes and Catalonia is no exception. If you visit Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, you will find Catalan toasts on the menu in the majority of tapas bars.
They are so quick and easy to make and are a filling lunch or snack. I have included a couple of recipes, one vegetarian and the other with Spanish Serrano ham and Manchego cheese.
Rather like Italian bruschetta, the toasts with tomatoes have quite a depth of flavour with the tomatoes being very finely chopped and mixed with the oil and garlic. Don’t be afraid to add more garlic to the mix if like me you love your garlic.
🇪🇸 En español: Pan con Tomate
The Spanish themselves often eat toast with tomato and garlic for breakfast.
Catalan Toasts with Tomatoes
- 1 large very ripe tomato but not beefsteak approx. 150g/6 ounces de-seeded and very, very finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 slices sourdough or other rustic bread cut thickly and halved
- sea salt flakes to taste
- Having chopped your tomato very, very finely, keep it on the board. Add the minced garlic, and combine using a fork to crush and mash them, before transferring to a small bowl. Add the oil and fork together so you have a fuzzy light-red mush. Out of this 1 tomato, I get ½ cup, that’s to say 125ml, of tomato topping. Ideally, leave the tomato mixture covered in cling film for a while, until the tomatoes start exuding their liquid; the toasts are better when they are slightly dampened with the tomato topping.
- Toast the bread – I like mine well-toasted and charred at the edges – halving the slices if wished, then spread modestly with the tomato mixture; the bread should still be visible under the scant topping. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Other Recipes You Maybe Interested in …..
Spanish Ham and Cheese
I think the Spanish air-dried hams like Serrano and Iberico are some of the tastiest cured meats money can buy so my second featured Catalan toast is more in the style of a Scandinavian open sandwich.
Serrano ham with Manchego cheese, a sheep’s milk cheese from La Mancha, is a classic tapas combination which I find irresistible, and if your diet permits I heartily recommend it.
🇪🇸 En español: Pan con jamon de serrano y queso de manchego
Catalan Toasts with Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 loaf crusty bread about 18 oz.
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 oz Serrano ham
- 4 oz Manchego cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
- coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse tomatoes and cut out stems. Slice the tomatoes and then chop to a coarse puree. Place in a bowl and season with pepper.
- Cut bread into 12 slices, then toast under preheated broiler until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Peel the garlic and rub 1 clove over one side of toasted bread slices. Chop remaining garlic and add to the tomatoes.
- Cut the Serrano ham into thin strips. Slice Manchego with a vegetable peeler.
- Set out toasts, tomato puree, olive oil, sea salt, cheese and ham and let guests assemble the toasts themselves: spoon some tomato purée on tosts, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and then top with cheese and ham as desired