Wasn’t the weekend glorious? Sun in the sky, light breeze to keep things cool – it was perfect for a picnic. The first of the year! We’re getting pretty good at packing picnics now; I remember a poor one we had years ago when we first started going out and we didn’t have napkins or plastic cups or anything to even sit on. We have two mats/blankets, even a few throw pillows, all manner of plastic cutlery and cups, napkins, …. and camera, of course!
To keep things simple this time, I packed some cookies I’d baked the night before (recipe in the next blog post!), some strawberries, a few individual yogurts, and some sandwiches. We based these sandwiches on some we bought in Barcelona this past trip – we were going for a day hike and that morning, we stopped into the local bakery and picked up a few plain-looking sandwiches: they were small baguettes, one with ham, one with chorizo, and one with some other preserved sausage. They didn’t look particularly exciting but when we unwrapped them, we found that the bread was rubbed with tomato and olive oil which lubricated everything nicely and made that sandwich utterly fantastic. (Well, I was surprised while Blai and his brother were not. Apparently, it’s the usual thing over in Catalunya to make sandwiches from pa amb tomàquet, that very Catalan combination of bread with tomato).
This is again one of those no-recipe, more-of-a-description posts. To make these sandwiches, use a small baguette per person; we used those half baked ones that you get at the supermarket and baked them that morning and allowed them to cool before preparing the sandwiches. Slice them in half horizontally lengthwise. Take a couple of very juicy tomatoes, slice them in half along their equators and then rub the cut sides into the cut sides of the bread. Really squeeze those tomatoes and get all the juice and seeds and flesh that squishes out onto the bread. The bread shouldn’t be soaking wet but there should be enough that the cut side is stained red. Sprinkle with salt if desired (I usually leave this step out) and then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (never skip this step!). If necessary, press the two halves together to prevent the oil from leaking everywhere! You now have pa amb tomàquet! It’s lovely eaten by itself or topped with some ham (open-faced) or with some cured sausage on the side but we’re here to make sandwiches!
Now choose your filling – we had some thinly sliced honey roast ham and sliced cheese. Don’t be too generous with these fillings! You want a nice balance between them and your pa amb tomàquet. A few slices will do. Wrap up your sandwich (we just used plastic wrap) and it will be good for when you’re ready to eat it! I’m not usually a fan of sandwiches but I am a sucker for these!