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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tapas - Pan con Tomate (Tomato Bread)

Served here as a dip so you can have as much tomato flavor as you like

This recipe was inspired by a wonderful tapas that the girls and I ordered every time we went to the restaurant in Barcelona.

The traditional way it is made in Spain is to toast a good country bread; scrape it with 1/2 peeled garlic clove; drizzle with olive oil; cut a tomato in half and scrape the cut side on the bread while gently squeezing.  Finally, sprinkle with salt.   You can also have it with chorizo and cheese.  Simple, but really good quality ingredients as you often find in Spain, make this really good.

Because I had 4 nice organic tomatoes that I didn't want to throw out, I decided to make it as a quick snack that I knew would get eaten.

You will need:  for 1.5 cups (350 ml) of tomato dip

  • 4 small tomatoes, cut in half and core end removed;
  • 3 Spanish pickled garlic cloves (can be found in the import  section of the grocery store*);
  • 1.5 tbsps of hazelnut or walnut oil (adds a great nutty flavor)
  • 1/8 cup of good olive oil
  • 1 tsp of honey (only when tomatoes are not in season to add sweetness)
  • a few drops of tabasco sauce or espelette/cayenne pepper (to taste) - because I am obsessed with chipotle pepper, I add a little to create a smoky flavor;
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 1 fresh baguette sliced in half and then cut in 2 inch pieces or country bread sliced
  • olive oil


  1. Place the halved tomatoes in a food processor with the garlic;
  2. While the motor is running, drizzle in the nut and olive oil;
  3. While still blending, season with honey, salt, tabasco (or espelette/cayenne/chipotle pepper);
  4. Transfer to a bowl, add chopped basil leaves (optional) and reserve at room temperature; (serve at room temperature but can be kept in the fridge for a few days)
*  If you cannot find pickled garlic, you can use garlic cloves that have been blanched to remove the bitterness and potency of raw garlic.  To do this, place peeled garlic cloves in cold water and bring to a boil.  Drain and repeat 2 more times.  This way you get a more subtle garlic flavor (start by using two cloves in this recipe and then adjust to your own taste).

For the grilled bread:

You can use a grill pan on the stove in the winter to make this or a barbeque in the summer for even more flavor.

  1. Using a pastry brush, paint a good quantity of olive oil on the cut side of the bread;
  2. Heat the grill pan over medium high until it is quite hot.
  3. Place the bread on the pan cut side down and press down on it to create even grill marks;
  4. Turn and repeat on the other side, sprinkle with a little salt.
Time investment:  About 15 minutes - really quick!

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