Tom’s Kitchen: the Simplest, and Best, Tomato Snack

Add olive oil and sea salt, and you've got the elements of perhaps the greatest of all tomato snacks. Tom Philpott/crappy iPhone camera

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

In Les Blank’s Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers (1980)—maybe the greatest food documentary ever—Blank gets the celebrated flamenco guitarist Anzonini del Puerto to describe the importance of garlic in his native Spain.

Del Puerto responds (video clip below) that there was very little to eat at the end of the Spanish Civil War; very little, that is, except garlic, tomatoes, and “muy, muy poco” (a very, very little) bread. They would often combine these ingredients into a simple sandwich of sliced tomatoes, sliced garlic, salt and olive oil. He goes on to demonstrate.

Over the past few years during tomato season at Maverick Farms, I’ve become addicted to the Catalan variation of Spain’s tomato sandwich, an open-faced version that’s even simpler than del Puerto’s. I suggest cranking out a few of these with flamenco music thundering in the background, such as the song del Puerto belts out after his sandwich demo in the below video.

This recipe makes a fabulous snack before a light summer dinner; or anytime you come in from the heat during the tomato season. What to drink with it? You can’t go wrong with a dry, well-chilled rosé.

Catalan-Style Tomato Bread

A loaf of good, crusty bread (I’ve been making my own using the no-knead method popularized by Mark Bittman a few years ago)
A clove of garlic, crushed and peeled
The best, juiciest tomato you can get your hands on
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Slice off a piece of bread about a half-inch thick and toast it lightly. A toaster works; for extra brilliance, toast it over a hot grill, taking care it doesn’t burn. Now take the crushed garlic clove and rub it all over the bread’s surface. If the bread is properly toasted and crispy, it will pick up highly flavorful juice and particles from the garlic. Now slice the stem top off of the tomato and vigorously rub the cut side against the bread. The bread will absorb juice and particles from the tomato, becoming quite soggy. Now give it a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle it liberally with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Repeat as necessary. Prepare for addiction. After a while of cranking these treats out, you’ll be holding a a ravaged swath of empty tomato skin in your hand. Time to cut open another.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate