Here’s a play on a Catalan snack, pan con tomate or tomato bread, which is usually as simple as rubbing garlic and then tomato onto crusty bread (see Shortcuts). Here, though, the tomatoes are given a quick confit on the cooktop in oil and chorizo fat to make them a bit jammy and slicing and baking the Turkish bread slab the way we do here turns it into a giant tanned and crispy crostini. If you’re only making this for a few of you, save the upper crust of the Turkish bread for the toaster — it’ll be perfect as an accompaniment to dips. This softer top is also where the expression “upper crust” comes from — the bit saved for the upper classes.
250 g uncooked chorizo sausages
½ cup (125ml) olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
400ml (14 fl oz) dry apple cider
A pinch of sugar
500g cherry tomatoes (see Subs)
430g (15oz) Turkish bread (or other
long bread), sliced in half lengthways
1–2 garlic cloves, halved
100g manchego, or other firm sheep’s cheese
Handful of finely chopped parsley
Lemon wedges, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Pop the chorizo out of its skin in chunks into a large heavy-based frying pan with a tablespoon of the oil, then let it start cooking out its own flaming red fat over low heat for a minute or so. Add the onion and gently sweat for 6–8 minutes, until softened.
Splash in the cider, sprinkle in the sugar and toss in the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat back down to a simmer. Let the mixture bubble away for 25–30 minutes, until it looks syrupy and the oil floats to the top. Season to taste with salt flakes and cracked black pepper.
Meanwhile, place the bread slices on a baking tray, then slip another tray on top to flatten the bread and stop the slices curling up into half-moons. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and crispy as all heck.
To serve, rub some fresh garlic over the open faces of the bread, then arrange on a platter and pour the tomato mixture over them. Shave the manchego over. Sprinkle with the parsley and some more salt and pepper. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve with lemon wedges.
Shortcuts Rub a piece of toast with garlic and the cut side of a halved fresh ripe tomato for the original version. You could also grate the tomato on the coarse side of a box grater for a saucier fresh version.
Subs Uncooked chorizo is softer in texture than cooked chorizo, so it can be squashed out of the casings as you might a sausage. Cooked chorizo will need to be cut into discs before adding, which I like to do straight into the pan using my kitchen shears, to save having to wash up a chopping board.
You can easily go plant-based by subbing out the chorizo, adding a few cloves of garlic to the confit tomato mix and upping the oil.
If tomatoes aren’t in season, good-quality tinned cherry tomatoes will do the trick. They won’t need as long to cook down; just watch for the jamminess to set in.
Images and text from The Joy of Better Cooking by Alice Zaslavsky, photography by Ben Dearnley. Murdoch Books, $49.99. Learn more here.
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