Thursday, 25 August 2011

Pa amb Tomaquet

Summer on toast.

So, the end of another blisteringly long, hot summer and yet again the problem of what to do with the huge glut of juicy, ripe tomatoes piling up in the kitchen... 

I'll be lucky; low light levels through August, followed by a deluge of rain have left my lawn looking very lush, but my veg patch more like like a mini bog.  That said, apart from one blight effected specimen, there is plenty of fruit on my tomato plants, and some of it is even going red.

With the first home grown spoils (or the first to actually make it in from the garden without being eaten straight from the vine) there is nothing simpler, or better, than pa amb tomaquet , or tomatoes on toast to you and I; not as a recipe as such, more a suggestion of what to do with your precious bounty.  Just take some chargrilled bread and rub with the perfectly ripe fruit, a touch of garlic, plenty of decent olive oil and a scattering of salt crystals.  I usually just squash the tomatoes into the bread with my fingers, but you can grate with a coarse grater too.  If you have a real problem with the seeds and skin then sieve the pulp before spreading on the bread, but I prefer the rustic approach.

This Catalan inspired dish is fantastic at all times of day, but makes a brilliant breakfast, along with a pot of coffee, while sitting in the garden. (you may want to show some restraint with the garlic at that time of the morning) Traditionally there is no basil involved, but as my basil has completely taken over the windowsill I usually add a few leaves. Pan tumaca sees a few slices of serrano ham being added, and you can try some cheese or salami for a bit of variation too. 

If the tomatoes are a little too hard to successfully rub into the toast then try finely dicing them with a little garlic and basil and serving on toast in the style of an Italian bruschetta.  Or, to recreate the nostalgic  weekend breakfasts of my childhood, wait until the weather turns colder, crack open a tin of whole plum tomatoes, heat through and serve doused in Worcestershire Sauce on slices of well buttered white toast.

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