Tonight, in a few hours, begins one of the biggest soccer rivalries in Spain, if not the world: Real Madrid versus FC Barcelona. Bars across town are flying flags from one of the two clubs to prevent innocent fans from ending up in an unfriendly atmosphere.
Chip is out with his friend, and they are going to eat and have "some guy's dinner". Meaning they will be drinking (a lot), yelling (a lot) and, since he's shacked up with Barcelona fans, eating pa amb tomàquet.
Pa amb tomàquet is an appetizer from Cataluña, the region that is home to Barcelona. When we were there, we had this typical dish several times, and it's one of those plates that amazes with its simplicity. It's nothing more than bread, tomato, a little garlic, olive oil and salt.
There's a couple things you should know. First, bread's important, very important. It must, above all, be good. I like ciabatta, or as we call it here in Donosti, txapata. And really, you should toast it. The crusty points formed by toasting will help in the next steps.
You continue by rubbing with a whole, peeled garlic clove. Then comes the tomato. But...WAIT. Make sure you cut it along the equator, not along the stem, in order to get maximum use of the juice and flesh. Rub a tomato half on the bread until the only thing left is a maltreated skin. Then, a generous dousing of GOOD olive oil and just the right amount of salt sprinkled across the top. Simple, right?
pa amb tomàquet
- one loaf of ciabbata
- four ripe tomatoes, cut in half down the equator
- two peeled garlic cloves
- extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
- a pinch of salt
Slice the ciabbata down the middle horizontally to part the loaf in half. Cut into desired size pieces and toast.
Rub with garlic cloves. Then rub with tomato halves, covering the entire bread, until only tomato skin remains and the bread is covered in seeds and juice. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.