I have just harvested my first ripe red tomato, and now I am going to celebrate by sharing my favorite tomato recipes (other than sauce). This first recipe is called tomaquet in Spanish, and I only recently discovered it on my trip to Barcelona.
When Eve and I first arrived at our hotel, they brought us bread with a side of olive oil, garlic mayo, and what looked like raw tomato pulp. I was fascinated, and soon discovered that the raw tomato pulp thing is sort of a national dish of Catalan. And it's so freaking easy to make that I am simply stunned that I had never heard of it before. Within a week of getting home, Eve and her six friends who were sleeping over were devouring it like it was the most delicious thing in the world -- which is saying something, since it was made with supermarket tomatoes. I did a Google search for "tomato pulp from Barcelona" and learned that the dish is called tomaquet.
I asked Rodale Inc.'s partner from Spain, Alberto Saborido, about tomaquet, and he waxed poetic for a good 15 minutes about how it was his favorite food and essential to Barcelona. Traditionally, he said, you just cut a tomato in half and rub it on toasted bread and add salt and olive oil. But that is said with the nonchalance of a Spaniard who just assumes all bread is good, and all olive oil is virgin, and all tomatoes are still grown on the vine (well, actually, he did complain about the state of tomatoes these days). It's kind of a form of bruschetta, but I have to say, it's so much better and more interesting. So here goes:
1 or 2 ripe, organic tomatoes
Pinch (or two) of salt
Really good olive oil
Crusty bread like ciabatta
Raw garlic (optional and totally not required)
1. Wash the tomato, cut off a bit of the end, and grate it over a bowl using a cheese grater.
2. Add salt.
3. Toast the bread (not required).
4. If you are going to use the garlic, rub a cut clove over the bread.
5. Spread tomato pulp onto bread.
6. You can use the olive oil (REQUIRED) in two different ways: Either drizzle it over the bread after you spoon the tomaquet onto it, or add the olive oil to the tomato mixture before spreading it onto the bread.
It goes in this order: crusty bread, optional raw garlic, tomato pulp with salt, olive oil. EAT!
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