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More Nigella recipes

Catalan Toasts

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

I first came across these in a tapas bar in Barcelona about 100 years ago. Pa amb tomàquet in Catalan, they are, I suppose, a version of an Italian tomato bruschetta, but instead of having roughly chopped tomatoes tumbled onto the bread, the tomatoes are halved and rubbed onto it or, often pushed through a box grater. Here, however, and with apologies to all Catalans, the tomatoes are finely chopped to a fuzzy mush with which the bread is merely anointed. You want them practically pulverised, so by all means use a box grater as tradition dictates; I prefer to go at the tomatoes with a mezzaluna (a double-handled knife with a half-moon-shaped blade) and then mix them with the oil for ease. So long as you have a good, ripe, flavoursome tomato to start off with, you’ll produce glorious Catalan toasts no matter whether you grate or chop.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I first came across these in a tapas bar in Barcelona about 100 years ago. Pa amb tomàquet in Catalan, they are, I suppose, a version of an Italian tomato bruschetta, but instead of having roughly chopped tomatoes tumbled onto the bread, the tomatoes are halved and rubbed onto it or, often pushed through a box grater. Here, however, and with apologies to all Catalans, the tomatoes are finely chopped to a fuzzy mush with which the bread is merely anointed. You want them practically pulverised, so by all means use a box grater as tradition dictates; I prefer to go at the tomatoes with a mezzaluna (a double-handled knife with a half-moon-shaped blade) and then mix them with the oil for ease. So long as you have a good, ripe, flavoursome tomato to start off with, you’ll produce glorious Catalan toasts no matter whether you grate or chop.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Catalan Toasts
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Makes: approx. 6 pieces

Metric Cups
  • 1 large very ripe tomato but not beefsteak (approx. 150g/6 ounces) de-seeded and very, very finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • approx. 3 chunky slices sourdough or other rustic bread (halved)
  • Maldon sea salt flakes (to taste)
  • 1 large very ripe tomato but not beefsteak (approx. 150g/6 ounces) de-seeded and very, very finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • approx. 3 chunky slices sourdough or other rustic bread (halved)
  • kosher salt (to taste)

Method

  1. Having chopped your tomato very, very finely, keep it on the board. Add the minced garlic, and combine using a fork to crush and mash them, before transferring to a small bowl. Add the oil and fork together so you have a fuzzy light-red mush. Out of this 1 tomato, I get ½ cup, that’s to say 125ml, of tomato topping. Ideally, leave the tomato mixture covered in cling film for a while, until the tomatoes start exuding their liquid; the toasts are better when they are slightly dampened with the tomato topping.
  2. Toast the bread — I like mine well-toasted and charred at the edges — halving the slices if wished, then spread modestly with the tomato mixture; the bread should still be visible under the scant topping. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  1. Having chopped your tomato very, very finely, keep it on the board. Add the minced garlic, and combine using a fork to crush and mash them, before transferring to a small bowl. Add the oil and fork together so you have a fuzzy light-red mush. Out of this 1 tomato, I get ½ cup, that’s to say 125ml, of tomato topping. Ideally, leave the tomato mixture covered in cling film for a while, until the tomatoes start exuding their liquid; the toasts are better when they are slightly dampened with the tomato topping.
  2. Toast the bread — I like mine well-toasted and charred at the edges — halving the slices if wished, then spread modestly with the tomato mixture; the bread should still be visible under the scant topping. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Chop the tomato a day ahead. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and remove about an hour before serving, to let it come to room temperature. Spread on the toast just before serving.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Chop the tomato a day ahead. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and remove about an hour before serving, to let it come to room temperature. Spread on the toast just before serving.

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What 6 Others have said

  • I prefer this Spanish version to the Italian one. Not that either are bad! Nice to alternate bites with shavings of serrano ham.

    Posted by rorkoulas on 18th August 2023
  • Something they do here in Andalucia (where I am currently living) is instead of adding minced garlic to the tomato "mush" they rub a raw garlic clove on the toast, then drizzle olive oil, then spoon on the tomato "mush", and then, of course, add a sprinkling of sea salt.

    Posted by RebeccaAmory on 2nd September 2022
  • I make this with home-grown sweetly acidic cherry tomatoes briefly blizted in a mini-chopper and seasoned with garlic, salt and EV olive oil. Superb for breakfast on toasted sourdough. As the song goes "There's only two things money cain't buy -- True love and home-grown tomaytoes."

    Posted by Cherryanne on 2nd September 2022
  • Instead of chopping the tomato, I use my cheese grater, it's very quick done too, also you can easily discard the peel at the end.

    Posted by Clairette on 2nd September 2022
  • The best way to prepare the tomato for this is by grating it.

    Posted by Julesmenorca on 2nd September 2022
  • I have a guest house in France. A lot of my guests are Spanish. This looks so easy to do, it is now on my menu .

    Posted by chefboutonne on 2nd September 2022
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