When I learned as an adult that in Spain, they rub garlic and tomato guts on bread and eat it all the time, I was furious. How come no one had ever told me this sooner? Had I really spent the first twenty five years of my life missing out on this simple but brilliant food? Pan con tomate: Why wasn't *everyone* doing this?
Many years later, I've stopped being angry and started getting serious about my pan con tomate, which can be as simple as rubbing tomato on a sliced bagette or can involve, as my extended family in Catalonia insists, "ajo y amor" ("garlic and love"). It's a great platform for Spanish salumi like fuet or jamón ibérico; it's a heavenly spoon used to scoop up freshly made alioli; it makes for a great frittata sandwich. And spread with ripe, creamy avocado, it's one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast. It's at once comforting and invigorating, rich from the fruit and biting from the garlic.
Find heavy, juicy tomatoes and really good bread. Try peeling the garlic by cutting off the butt end and pulling the skin away. Go easy or light on the ingredients, finding the balance that you like best. And try not to get mad that you haven't been doing this your whole life. —vvvanessa
4 pieces of toast
slices crusty bread, like a sourdough levain or a baguette sliced into 6-inch sections and sliced lengthwise
clove of garlic, peeled but not crushed
ripe tomato, halved at the equator
ripe avocado, halved with pit removed
extra virgin olive oil
In This Recipe
Toast the bread. While it is still hot, carefully rub the garlic clove all over the surface of the bread.
Next, take the tomato and squeeze, rub, press, and smoosh the seeds, juice, and guts right onto the bread. Depending on the texture of the tomato, one half should be able to cover about 2 slices of toast.
Very lightly salt the toast.
Using a fork, mash the avocado right in its skin. Spread each slice of toast generously with the mashed avocado. Salt again, drizzle with olive oil, and serve right away.