RECIPE TITLE "Garlic, Olive Oil, and Fresh Tomato on Toasted Bread (PAN con TOMATE y ANCHOA) "
Recipe excerpted from La Cocina de Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain, Copyright © 2005 by Penelope Casas
Nothing could be more simple and down to earth than this tapa, but its appeal is universal. It originated in Catalunya, but can now be found all over Spain. In fact, I will never forget a breakfast of exceptional pan con tomate and steaming café con leche at an outdoor café overlooking the mountains of Granada in Galera, a town of cave dwellings. The recipe that follows has the advantage of last-minute assemblage, so the bread doesn't get soggy. Since ingredients are few, it goes without saying that the very best tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and anchovies are essential.
If last-minute preparation is not a problem, I suggest the even simpler traditional method of toasting the bread, rubbing it with a cut clove of garlic, then rubbing with a cut tomato, squeezing the tomato gently as you rub. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.
1 1/2 pounds very ripe and flavorful tomatoes, preferably plum tomatoes, split in halves crosswise
2 large garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
4 tablespoons best-quality fruity extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher or sea salt
Good-quality French-style loaf, split in half and halves cut into 4-inch lengths
8 to 16 best-quality anchovy fillets, preferably jarred, optional
With a coarse grater held over a bowl grate the tomatoes down to the skin. Pour off any excess liquid. Add the garlic, olive oil, and salt to taste (the mixture should be well seasoned). Let sit for a few minutes to meld flavors.
Lightly toast the split bread and drizzle with olive oil. Pour the tomato mixture into a serving bowl and arrange the bread and anchovies, if using, on plates. Let each guest spread the tomato mixture on the bread and top it off with one or two anchovy fillets.
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|La Cocina de Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain
Long overshadowed by France and Italy, Spain has finally taken its rightful place as one of Europe's great culinary meccas. Consider the reborn cities of Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao, the new respect afforded Spanish wines, the popularity of tapas bars in the United Sates, and Spain's widely influential Michelin three-star chefs, Ferran Adria and Juan Mari Arzak. Despite the worldwide acclaim for these chefs, arguably the greatest Spanish food is found not in the nation's restaurants but in private homes off-limits to tourists, where women still cook the recipes their mothers and grandmothers cooked before them. Now, Penelope Casas takes us into those homes to uncover the secrets of this simple, easily reproduced, and altogether marvelous cuisine.
For La Cocina de Mama, Penelope Casas has collected recipes from great chefs and traditional home cooks in every region of Spain, all of whom have shared with her the dishes they grew up loving and still cook for themselves today. There are recipes for tapas like Clams in Garlic Sauce; elegant soups and hearty one-pot meals like Stewed Potatoes with Pork Ribs; many wonderful seafood dishes like Fish Steaks with Peas in Saffron Sauce; meat and poultry dishes such as Pork Tenderloin in Orange Sauce, Rack of Lamb Stuffed with Mushrooms and Scallions, and Lemon Chicken with Ginger and Pine Nuts; paella and other rice dishes-and even a few pasta dishes; unusual vegetable preparations including Sauteed Spinach with Quince and Toasted Sesame Seeds; and desserts like Basque Apple Custard Tart. Whether of Roman, Moorish, or peasant origin, all of the dishes appeal to today's tastes and exemplify the virtues of the Mediterranean diet-lots of olive oil, lean meats and fish, and vegetables. Sidebars throughout discuss ingredients, areas of Spain unfamiliar to most Americans, travel vignettes, and more. At last, Americans can discover the unique and irresistible flavors of authentic Spanish home cooking in La Cocina de Mama.