Pa amb tomaquet, or pan con tomate

The Catalan national dish — “bread and tomatoes”, which I admit doesn’t sound very exciting. But with ripe tomatoes and good olive oil, it is delicious. A simple starter; or, in Catalonia, a breakfast dish.

For each person:
1 large slice pain de campagne, lightly toasted
half a very ripe tomato (cut it crossways)
1 clove garlic (optional)
olive oil
Serrano ham, sliced paper-thin; or thinly sliced Pyrenean cheese; or thin slices of salami

If using the garlic, cut the clove in half and rub the cut surface over the bread. Rub your half-tomato vigorously all over the bread, paying particular attention to the crusts. Sprinkle with a little salt, and then drizzle with olive oil to taste. Use a knife to spread the oil evenly over the tomato-soaked bread. Cut your slice of bread in half and cover half of it with thinly sliced ham, cheese, or salami. Put the other half on top to make a sandwich, and eat. This makes a good breakfast, along with a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice.

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