Photo by Patricia Esteve
Bread with tomato home
Traditional Catalan cuisine: pa amb tomaquet. Done properly, the bread should be rubbed with not just tomato but also garlic, then drizzled with olive oil
Traditional pa amb tomaquet forms the backbone of Catalan cookery. Both the ingredients and preparation are very simple: take a slice of bread, rub it with a ripe tomato, a garlic clove and some olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and eat it with pretty much anything.
For a more gourmet touch, we asked leading chef Ferran Adrià for his own high-tech, deconstructured, almost impossible, haute cuisine interpretation of the classic dish. Ferran assures us that to make this recipe well, this is the minimum possible quantity: any less and it's likely to fail. Thus, this recipe yields about 100 individual portions, making it an impressive, if ostentatious, snack for a very large barbecue or a school fair.
20g compressed yeast
2 x 2g gelatine sheets
15g egg white
Extra virgin olive oil
Maldon sea salt
First of all, make the 'airbags' which take the place of the pa: heat milk to 12°C and dissolve yeast in it. Sieve the flour and knead it, adding the milk and salt little by little. Keep kneading until you have a smooth, even dough; but be careful not to overdo it, as this can prevent dough from rising. Spread it flat on a cool surface and toss it in a light circular motion with you fingertips. Divide dough into four equal parts and toss each part separately. Keeping the four portions separate, put them in the fridge to ferment for an hour. Remove the dough from the fridge and, very gently, smooth it flat with a rolling pin, applying as little pressure as possible. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave it to rest for a minute. Then, gently flatten further with the rolling pin before covering again and leaving it to rest. Repeat until you have a sheet of dough which is 0.5mm thick. With a cookie cutter, cut the sheet into circles of 3.5cm diameter and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 250°C and cook the dough circles for two minutes on each side, so that they inflate. Now for the agua de tomate: cut tomatoes into quarters and clean out the seeds, then mash tomatoes up with your hands (although not to the point of making a paste). Wrap tomatoes in a length of moist cheesecloth; leave to sit in a pan for three hours. Then throw away tomato pulp, but keep the juice which have seeped out: they should be transparent and pale pink in colour. Heat up 100g of the fluid and use it to melt 1.5 of the gelatine sheets and the dextrose. Then mix with the rest of agua de tomate and the egg white. Put the mixture through an ice cream maker for a few minutes, until the sorbet has formed. This can be kept in a freezer until needed. With a syringe, fill each of the little dough packages with olive oil, and cover the hole with a crystal of salt. Spoon tomaquet sorbet into shot glasses and top with an airbag of pa.