Celebrate that special time of year when tomatoes actually taste like something

It’s summer and your house (or my basement apartment) is swelteringly hot. You don’t want to heat it up more with any elaborate cooking and would much rather sit outside, munching on something delicious. Thankfully, that sweltering heat also means tomato season’s here! Away with mealy, watery, flavourless hothouse approximations, now we can sink our teeth into tomatoes that actually taste like something.

Easily my favourite way to do it comes from a place that’s mastered summertime snacking: Catalonia. From Tarragona to Girona you can find an ingenious and insanely simple use of fresh tomato in every corner taverna: pa amb tomàquet in Catalan, pan con tomate in Spanish, or just “plain ol’ bread with tomato” in English. Man, food sounds so much less fun in English.

This is the easiest thing in the world. You just need fresh, super ripe, small tomatoes, some crusty bread, good olive oil, and nice flaky salt (read: Maldon).

First, cut a generous hunk of bread, and pop it in the toaster on a high setting or under a broiler, you want it to get really browned and toasty, almost to the edge of burning.

Then, slice a tomato in half and firmly scrape it, flesh side down, across the bread. You’re basically grating the tomato pulp with—and directly onto—your toast.

Top that side with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and—if you’re feeling fancy—a few slices of Jamón Ibérico or some anchovy fillets. Take a bite and feel your whole summer improve.

Originally published July 25, 2018