Eastside Road, Healdsburg, November 24, 2009—A COUPLE OF DAYS ago, as I reported then, we lunched at an upscale tapas bar in Los Angeles; there we had pa amb tomàquet, and I decided that would be a good, simple thing to make for dinner tonight, since we'd spent the day in San Francisco and neither of us really wanted to cook.
According to Wikipedia, it's just bread rubbed with tomato, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt. (There's the stuff of Metaphor there, I'm sure.) We've done that before, plenty of times. At Bazaar in L.A., though, the pa amb tomàquet was a little more evolved, and I thought I'd try reconstructing it here at home.
I cut the heels off a baguette and divided the remainder into three, cutting each of them in half crosswise. I dribbled some olive oil on the cut surfaces, then laid a slice of Manchego on each slice of bread. I minced a good-sized shallot and a clove of garlic with a couple of celery leaves and sprinkled that mixture on the cheeses, then added a slice of tomato — not a very good tomato, I'm afraid; it's too late for that, but a heritage tomato with a certain amount of flavor. I sprinkled the tomato with salt and slid the whole thing under the broiler for, oh, five minutes or so, until it looked like this:
toasted enough to melt the cheese, bring flavor out of the tomato, and merge the flavors of the shallot and onion.
It was just as good as the one at Bazaar. Green salad afterward, of course.