Tomato rubbed crostini (Catalan tomato bread) is a really easy and very flavorful way to make a crostini. In this recipe, the bread is a charred then brushed with olive oil before rubbing tomato and garlic over the top.
I love crostini and you may have seen this mentioned on 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.
I also love the combination of tomatoes and bread and if you have seen some of my other recipes like my Modern French bread pizza, you know that I can make a complete meal out of these two ingredients.
What is Catalan Tomato Bread?
This tomato and garlic rubbed crostini is an old Spanish and Italian 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 a 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 it over the top is much more Spanish in style.
There are only a few ingredients you need to make this Catalan tomato 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 oregano crostini which I use with almost all my red sauce recipes.
My favorite ways to use this Catalan tomato bread:
- A side to pasta dishes with sauce that needs to scooped up.
- As a base for toppings like prosciutto, cheese, etc.
- To serve along side your favorite Italian soup like this Kale and Farro Minestrone.
- Just to eat on it's own! Really, it is so good you do not need much else.
How to make Catalan Tomato Bread:
When making this tomato bread recipe, it calls for rubbing the garlic and tomato over top after the bread is done being grilled. The purpose to this method is you are using the heat and roughness of the the bread after toasting to help release the juices from the garlic and 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.
Notes about this tomato bread:
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 the 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 making 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 in this Catalan Tomato bread recipe?
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:
- 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
- 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.