On a recent trip to Mallorca, breakfast consisted of endless cups of darkly strong black coffee, freshly baked ‘ensaïmada’ – a beloved Mallorcan sweet pastry originating from Arabia – and ‘pan con tomate’ (Spanish tomatoes on garlicky toast). I could happily live forever on the latter so I wanted to create something similar for this year’s summer menu and this is the result. It’s a simple dish of loveliness with a foundation of very ripe plum tomatoes blended with griddled sourdough bread, lashings of garlic, olive oil, aged sherry vinegar, lemon juice and smoked paprika. It’s can be a challenge to get the balance of flavours right at first – truth be told, there can be no exact recipe as it depends on the time of year you make it and the quality of the tomatoes available – but the reward is a vibrant bowl of the very essence of a Spanish summer so just be confident and balance out the ingredients according to your personal taste.
2 thick slices of two-day old sourdough bread
500g of very ripe plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
50ml of extra-virgin olive oil
1-3 tbsp of Vinagre de Jerez Reserva
1-2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
Lemon zest, to garnish (optional)
Wild oregano, to garnish (optional)
How I make it
Griddle the bread of a couple of minutes on both sides. Break up into small pieces and place in a food processor. Add all the other ingredients (starting with just 1 tbsp of sherry vinegar and 1 tsp of paprika) and blend to a rough consistency. Taste and adjust the sherry vinegar and paprika. Blend into a smoother consistency (you may need to add some cold water here depending upon how juicy your tomatoes are) and season again to your taste.
Turn out into a pretty bowl and garnish with lemon zest and oregano (if using).