Tomato-rubbed crostini (Catalan bread) is a really easy and very flavorful way to make a crostini. In this recipe, the bread is charred and then brushed with olive oil before rubbing tomato and garlic over the top. It is so easy to make and so delicious.
I love crostini and you may have seen this mentioned in other recipe posts of mine. Crostini makes for a great base for a light lunch or appetizer and it also makes an amazing side to main courses that have sauces that you want to scoop up.
That is where my love for this Catalan bread comes in. The combination of tomatoes and charred bread with garlic is so good and it is a favorite in our house.
We make this tomato bread often and we even make a complete meal with it when we are short on time.
This is also my favorite recipe to order out at Spanish tapas restaurants. Because of that, it pairs really well with these small Spanish bites and how we often serve this.
What is Catalan Tomato Bread?
This tomato and garlic-rubbed crostini is an old Spanish way of making crostini and it is very simple. It is sometimes called Pan con Tomate if it is Spanish or the Catalan people have this version called pan a la Catalana.
After grilling or charring your bread, you just take a garlic clove and rub that over the warm bread. Next, you rub the tomato half over the warm bread to release the juices of the tomato and impart its flavor on the crostini.
If you want even more tomato you squeeze the fresh tomato over the bread right before serving. Some people will grate the tomato with a grater and spoon it over the bread. The grating of the tomato over the top is much more Spanish in style.
Ingredients for Catalan bread
- Good baguette or ciabatta bread
- olive oil
As I mentioned above, this tomato bread is very versatile. For me, it is essentially a base or side to many of my dishes.
I love good crusty bread and I have many different versions. My other favorite crostini is my garlic crostini which I use with almost all my red sauce recipes.
Making The Catalan Tomato Bread
When making this tomato bread recipe, it is very simple. Here are the steps:
- Char the bread: Toast up the bread with olive oil under the broiler.
- Rub garlic over bread:
- Rub tomato over the bread: Rub the tomato over the top after the bread is done being grilled. The purpose of this method is to use the heat and roughness of the bread after toasting to help release the juices from the tomato. If you like tomatoes a lot, go ahead and squeeze any extra tomato pulp out of the tomato.
Don't worry about the addition of the tomato making the bread soft, it will just impart its flavor and some color. To finish it all off, a light sprinkle of good kosher or sea salt is great to really bring out those flavors.
My favorite ways to use this Catalan tomato bread
- I love serving this to go with my chorizo frito and Spanish mussels for a full Spanish tapas experience.
- Just to eat on its own! Really, it is so good you do not need much else.
Can you make this recipe ahead of time?
This is not a recipe that is good to make ahead. You need the ingredients to be fresh to achieve an amazing taste. The heat helps warm the garlic and tomatoes when the bread is fresh out of the oven.
You do not want the tomato-rubbed bread sitting on the bread for too long or it will affect its texture.
What is the best bread to use for this recipe?
When I make this Catalan tomato bread, my favorite bread to use is a baguette because it is sturdy and can hold up to the tomato being rubbed over the top.
You can also use bakery-quality country bread that is thick sliced and hearty.
Just look for any high-quality baked bread that is sturdy and make sure it is sliced thick.
Does it matter what types of tomatoes I use when making Catalan bread ?
Yes. First, you want very ripe and juicy tomatoes. Next, you want to look for tomato varieties with a round shape because they will be juicier. Roma tomatoes do not make tomatoes since they have more meat than juice. You could get away with that if that is what you have on hand but you may need to use more of them.
You may also like these recipes:
Tomato Rubbed Crostini (Catalan Bread)
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- 1 loaf of good baguette or ciabatta bread
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 ripe tomato cut in half
- olive oil for topping bread about ¼ cup
- kosher salt to taste
- Pre heat your broiler to high
- Next slice up your baguette or ciabatta into ½ inch slices.
- Place the sliced bread on a large sheet pan.
- Drizzle or brush your olive oil on to the tops of the bread.
- Place under the broiler until the tops start to turn a golden brown.
- Remove the sheet pan from the under the broiler and flip the bread over to toast the other side.
- Once the second side turns a nice golden color remove the bread from the oven and place your hot sheet pan on a protected surface.
- Flip the toasted crostini back over with the olive oil side facing up.
- Take your clove of garlic and begin rubbing the garlic back and forth on each piece of bread while the bread is hot to release the garlic flavor.
- Next, take your ½ of your tomato and begin rubbing that on the tops of the bread in the same fashion as the garlic, again to release the tomato flavor on to the bread.
- Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here