My Messinia

“Un pane, una razza”- riganada versus bruschetta (toscana) versus pa amb tomaquet

DSC_0039For the purpose of this post I am paraphrasing the well known sentence “una fascia, una razza” (one face, one race) which is used extensively in Greece to point out the similarities of Greek and Italian people into “un pane, una razza” (one bread, one race).

It seems that various countries in the Mediterranean came up with this same idea of serving bread topped abundantly with tomato (something unusual in the Northern Europe where a tomato is paired with bread as a complimentary to cheese and cold cuts). There are some slight differances in serving. The Greeks avoid garlic which is used on bread in Spain and in Italy and basil, a plant which to my surprise is scarcely used in Greek cuisine but very much as a fragrant beautifying and insect repelent summer ornament. DSC_0020

HOW TO MAKE PA AMB TOMÀQUET (CATALAN TOMATO BREAD)

So here’s the fun of tomato bread — you can either prepare it yourself before a meal or (much more fun) serve it DIY-style at the table!  Often in Catalonia, restaurants will just bring you a board with all of the five ingredients laid out and then everyone passes it around to prepare a slice or two for themselves.  But if you would prefer to prepare it in advance, I just advise waiting until the very last minute to add the tomatoes, since the bread can tend to get soggy if it sits out for too long.

Here’s how to make tomato bread (full instructions in the recipe below):

  • bread, sliced
  • tomatoes
  • garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
  • kosher salt or sea salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Toast the bread: As mentioned above, it’s important that the bread be nice and crispy for the tomatoes and garlic to “grate” well on top of it.  So slice the bread nice and thin.  Then pop it in the toaster (or you can do a big batch in the oven) until it is nice and toasty and golden.
  2. Rub the garlic.  Next, slice an unpeeled garlic clove in half.  Then rub the clove all over the surface of the bread.  I love the flavor of raw garlic on this bread, so I tend to add a lot here.  But heads up — raw garlic is spicy!  So if you’re not a big fan of garlic, I suggest going light on this step to begin.
  3. Rub the tomato.  Next, slice a juicy ripe tomato in half.  Then rub the tomato (cut side down) all over the surface of the bread, being sure to squeeze out lots of the rind.
  4. Drizzle the oil.  Next, add a quick drizzle of good-quality olive oil to the top of the bread.
  5. Sprinkle with salt.  However much you prefer, to taste.
  6. And…serve.  Right away!  Tomato bread can go soggy quickly.  So serve it up ideally while they bread is still warm and crispy right out of the toaster.  And ENJOY

HOW TO MAKE TUSCAN BRUSCHETTA (almost this same as PA AMB TOMÀQUET!)

The differences are added in capital italic fonts!

  • bread, sliced
  • tomatoes
  • garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
  • fresh basil, torn
  • kosher salt or sea salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Toast the bread: As mentioned above, it’s important that the bread be nice and crispy for the tomatoes and garlic to “grate” well on top of it.  So slice the bread nice and thin.  Then pop it in the toaster (or you can do a big batch in the oven) until it is nice and toasty and golden.
  2. Rub the garlic.  Next, slice an unpeeled garlic clove in half.  Then rub the clove all over the surface of the bread.  I love the flavor of raw garlic on this bread, so I tend to add a lot here.  But heads up — raw garlic is spicy!  So if you’re not a big fan of garlic, I suggest going light on this step to begin.
  3. Rub or SLICE the tomato.  Next, slice a juicy ripe tomato in half.  Then rub the tomato (cut side down) all over the surface of the bread, being sure to squeeze out lots of the rindορ or CUT IT INTO SMALL CUBES AND PLACE THEM ON THE BREAD
  4. Drizzle the oil.  Next, add a quick drizzle of good-quality olive oil to the top of the bread.
  5. Sprinkle with salt.  However much you prefer, to taste.
  6. ADD FRESH TORN BASIL LEAVES
  7. And…serve.  Right away!  Tomato bread can go soggy quickly.  So serve it up ideally while they bread is still warm and crispy right out of the toaster.  And ENJOY

HOW TO MAKE RIGANADA

In Messinia riganada is ever-present on the local tables…it is the simplest version of the previous two. The original one is topped with tomato but it can also be toasted and drizzled with olive oil, salt and oregano (as on the 1st photo in the post )

  • bread, sliced
  • tomatoes
  • kosher salt or sea salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • oregano
  1. Slice the bread (No toasting necessary!)
  2. Grate the tomato.  Grate the tomato or put a whole tomato in a blender.  Pour it on the bread
  3. Drizzle the oil.  Next, add a quick drizzle of good-quality olive oil to the top of the bread.
  4. Sprinkle with salt.  However much you prefer, to taste.
  5. Sprinkle with oregano 
  6. And…serve. No need to hurry! Let the tomato and olive oil mix to soak through the bread. Here we do like it soggy!!! Take it slow and ENJOY

The last photos are of a more elaborate riganada with balsamic vinegar and feta crumbles but never with garlic as in Catalonia and Italy…DSC_0430

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