Monday, June 6, 2011

A Spanish Lust for Tomato Bread

I recently returned from a trip to the Carinena region of Spain where I renewed by interest in tasty, affordable Garnacha and my unquechable lust for tomato bread. Both were available for every lunch and dinner, and the tomato bread was there for breakfast as well.

Tomato bread is one of those simple pleasures in life - at its most basic just freshly squeezed juice from tomatoes (forget about commercial, concentrated tomato juice) and a sliced piece of bread. It can be served with the juice already on the bread or with a demure bowl with spoon next to it. If you like variety, you can toast the bread and, as it was served in Seville where I first encountered it a few years ago, rubbed with fresh garlic and olive oil before the juice of the tomato is applied and finally topped with a few flakes of sea salt.

I've perfected tomato bread, which I have with a tall mug of dark-roasted coffee every morning when I get up at 4 a.m. It's what's for breakfast. My version is this: a thick slice of rosemary foccacia from the local bakery with a drizzle of olive oil, another sprinkle of dried rosemary and then a topping of slightly spicy commercial tomato. Gently brown in a toaster oven.

But it was good to get back to basics in Carinena. I was not able to convince my traveling partners - fellow writers David Rosengarten, Michael Franz and John Stroker - to convert to tomato bread as a breakfast food. Or that 4 a.m. is a sane rising time with you been out tapas dancing the night before.

They did buy into the Garnacha part.

Until next time...
Roger Morris

Recently Published
In the current issue of Intermezzo, dining along Canada's Atlantic Rim and traveling through the Brandywine Valley. In Beverage Media, an article on how Prosecco sales are still bubbling. In Signature Brandywine, an update on the legacy of artist Andrew Wyeth. In, a report on those Garnachas from Carinena and (coming soon) spirited gift ideas for Ol' Dad. And in, how the Queen Mary 2 keeps its food service afloat.

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