Pa amb tomàquet
|Place of origin||Catalonia|
|Region or state||Aragon, Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Murcia, Valencia|
|Main ingredients||Bread, tomato, garlic, olive oil|
Pa amb tomàquet (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈpam tuˈmakət]), or Pan con tomate ("Bread with tomato"), is a traditional food of Valencian, Aragonese, Balearic, Catalan and Murcian cuisines in Spain. Pa amb tomàquet is considered a staple of Catalan cuisine and identity.
It is considered one of the typical examples that define the Mediterranean diet, extended as a traditional recipe throughout Catalonia. It is popularly consumed on its own as a snack or a tapa with any meal, from breakfast to dinner.
In some Catalan restaurants, the tomato mixture is pre-made and is brushed on the bread, while others provide the guests with the ingredients to do the work themselves. The dish is served accompanied with any sorts of sausages (cured botifarres, xoriço, fuet, Iberian ham, etc.), ham, cheeses, omelettes, anchovies or other marinated fish, or grilled vegetables like escalivada.
In Majorca, pa amb oli is prepared with tomato called Tomàtiga de Ramellet, a specific variety of tomatoes on the vine, smaller and with a taste that is slightly more intense and sour taste than normal tomatoes because of the loss of acidity in the tomato.
The original base used to be made with toasted slices of pa de pagès ("peasants' bread"), a typical round loaf of wheat bread of a fair size (from ½ kg to 5 kg, from some 20 cm to 50 cm in diameter).
If the mixture is not premade (in fact, if it is premade, most people will not consider it at all pa amb tomàquet), there is said to be an ideal order in which the ingredients are integrated to yield the best flavour. First, the garlic is rubbed on the bread. Then the same is done with the tomato. Next comes the salt, and lastly the olive oil.
The origin of this dish is disputed, as tomato is relatively new to Catalan cuisine (it came from America only after the 15th century). Widely regarded as the epitome of Catalan cuisine and identity, some sources claim it is actually a relatively recent (mid to late 19th century) in all the Mediterranean coast of Spain.
Catalan chef Josep Lladonosa i Giró says it was first documented in the 18th century. The cook, born in 1938, remembers his grandmother explaining that her parents used to eat a dish called pa amb tomàquet. With better precision, Catalan cooking historian Nèstor Luján says that the first written reference is from 1884 and, according to his thesis, the recipe would have been created in the rural world during an abundant tomato harvest. People would have used the tomatoes to soften hard and dry bread.
The dish shares some similarities with the tomato and olive oil-rubbed Ħobż biz-Zejt of Malta, with the Pan-bagnat of Nice, in the Provence region of France, the tomato-topped version of Italian bruschetta, and the Cretan meze dakos.
Fried sonsos with pa amb tomàquet
- Virbila, S. Irene (17 July 2014). "For tomato season: Catalonia's pa amb tomàquet". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "The sacred principles of "pa amb tomàquet"". Barcelonaturisme.com. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Catalan Tomato Bread". Food & Wine. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Tomàtiga de Ramellet: The most Mallorcan of tomatoes - INPALMA.COM". Palma Daily. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- La cuina tradicional catalana a l'abast, pg. 96, Josep Lladonosa i Giró, 2005, Columna Cuina, ISBN 84-664-0666-2
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