Pa amb tomàquet
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Pa amb tomàquet (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈpam tuˈmakət], literally in English: "Bread with tomato") or pa amb oli (Majorcan: [ˌpəmˈbɔɫi], literally in English: "Bread with olive oil") is a simple and typical recipe in Catalan cuisine and Majorca.
Pa amb tomàquet or pa amb oli consists of bread, a few times toasted, with tomato rubbed over and seasoned with olive oil and salt. Sometimes, garlic is rubbed on the bread before rubbing in the tomato. In some Catalan restaurants, the tomato mixture is pre-made and is brushed on the bread, but that is not considered the real thing. The dish is served accompanied with any sorts of sausages (cured botifarres, xoriço, fuet, iberic 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.
The original base used to be made with toasted slices of pa de pagès ('peasants' bread'), a typical round piece 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
- Catalan government website, Gastronomy > Elements with character > Tomato covered bread, turnovers and 'coques'
- La cuina tradicional catalana a l'abast, pg. 96, Josep Lladonosa i Giró, 2005, Columna Cuina, ISBN 84-664-0666-2
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pa amb tomàquet.|
- Pa amb tomaquet Group on Flickr
- Pa amb tomàquet festival (Catalan)
- Pa amb tomàquet and elbonmenjar.com blog (Catalan)
- El pa amb tomàquet - Sencillo, práctico y típicamente catalán. Marta Burgués, cocinayhogar.com. (Spanish)
- Pomés, Leopoldo (1994). Teoría y práctica del Pa amb tomàquet (in Spanish). Barcelona: Tusquets Editores. ISBN 978-84-7223-772-8.