Catalan Bread with Tomato

What it should look like (imagine the grill marks)
I first learned this recipe when I was in Chad, working with MSF (Doctors Without Borders) Spain. It makes for a really tasty vessel for other Spanish goodies like Manchego cheese, Iberico ham and chorizo. First I will tell you the real way to make it (or at least the most real way that I know) and then I'll tell you the way that I usually make it.

Catalan bread with tomato (Pa amb tomaquet) - the real way:
- a nice bread like a baguette or thick country bread.  If using baguette, cut down the center length-wise and then section in to ~4" pieces, if using a country bread or other loaf, cut into thick slices
-garlic cloves cut in half (roughly 2 per loaf so adjust according to the amount of bread that you have)
-3-4 ripe tomatoes, halved
-extra virgin olive oil
-coarse salt

How its done...
-When done properly, bread is cooked over a grill, either gas or charcoal, the bread is done cooking when grill marks appear or when the bread is slightly charred. It can also be cooked in the oven.
-Remove the bread from the heat and immediately rub the top sides of the bread with the cut side of the garlic clove, then rub each slice of bread with the cut side of the tomato. This step is really like crushing the tomato into the bread so all the juices come out.
-discard the tomato shells (this is all that should be left of them at this point)
-drizzle olive oil over the bread, season with coarse salt
-serve with iberico ham, Spanish chorizo, manchego cheese or olives.

How I eat it...
I usually wind up making this for myself when I have nothing in the fridge but cheese and happen to have some tomatoes lying around.  I do more or less the same thing, but will often cook my bread in the toaster and omit the garlic (this is pure laziness, I almost always have garlic around). I also usually cannot bear to get rid of the tomato shells, so I eat them - unless they were overripe, as this is also a good way to use overripe tomatoes.  Today I had a combination of ripe and overripe tomatoes and even went so far as to add sliced tomatoes to my bread after having crushed the overripe ones. I usually partner the tomato bread with whatever nice cheese I have around.
I worked with MSF Spain in Chad, Niger, South Sudan and Ethiopia, where it was rare to find all of the above ingredients together at any given time.  I learned that the key ingredients here are really the olive oil and the bread.  Bread, olive oil, and cheese?  Delicious.  Bread, olive oil, and chorizo?  Awesome.  Bread, olive oil, and garlic?  Also great. Heck, bread and straight olive oil? Perfect.

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