Simple, Rustic, Good: Catalan Tomato Bread is a Winner

July 26, 2019

Simple, Rustic, Good: Catalan Tomato Bread is a Winner

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In “Happy on a Plane with a Food Magazine,” posted in late May, I promised you that I’d share whatever I decided to cook from the Food & Wine issue I was reading at the time, their “40 Best-Ever Recipes”.

We were headed to Little House in the Rockies, and I spent the 2-hour Houston to Denver flight perusing the 40 recipes. It was a hard choice, because those 40 recipes were culled from 40 years of Food & Wine greatness, and every one of them was mouthwateringly tempting. But – and this is an important factor – trips to our mountain cabin are about slowing down and simplifying, so after deep consideration, I decided on the rustic simplicity of the Catalan Tomato Bread that was published in 1997 and contributed by cookbook author Steven Raichlen.

Catalan Tomato Bread was the winner

It was easy to fall in love with this recipe. It’s uncomplicated and homey, and with only a few steps from start to finish: grill (or toast) thick slices of country-style bread, rub them with a fresh garlic clove cut in half, rub again with half of a very ripe tomato, then drizzle with olive oil and finish with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper.

After “grilling” the bread (we did it in the oven for weather reasons), you rub it with garlic, then ripe tomatoes, halved (we scooped out some more tomato to spread onto the bread)

Our travel day meals at the cabin are always simple, and this one was no exception. The tomato bread was paired only with a Greek(ish) salad, some big, fat, juicy-salty green olives and a light red wine. Heavenly. The tomato bread makes a satisfying crunch as you bite into it, and tastes like essence of summer.

Simple, rustic, good

I was a little disappointed that our tomato bread didn’t look more, well, tomato-y. Shouldn’t it have been a little redder? But then, about a month later in Paris, at L’Escargot Montorgueil, we ordered tomato bread with jamón ibérico (like proscuitto) and it had less of a tomato-y look than our Colorado take on it. But it was equally delicious.

Tomato bread with our meal at L’Escargot Montorgueil
The photo from Food & Wine (credit Greg DuPree)

Whether it looks sufficiently tomato-y or not, the Catalan Tomato Bread is a winner. As noted in Food & Wine, “This recipe offers irrefutable proof that the best dishes are often the simplest.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Food & Wine posted a very short YouTube video that demonstrates how quickly this classic comes together.

Find the recipe here in Food & Wine. And let me know if you try it.

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