Pan con Tomate - Toasted Bread with Tomato and Serrano Ham

Pan con Tomate y Jamón Serrano is tapa where the saltiness of the ham is softened by the freshness of the tomatoes and the fruitiness of the olive oil.   Typically the bread is rubbed with tomato and sometimes garlic and then drizzled with olive oil before topping with the Serrano ham.  I prefer putting the tomatoes, olive oil and garlic in the food processor to create a paste that I can then brush on to the toasted bread.  I find that this produces a much more flavorful tapa.

Makes 18 tapas

18 slices country or rustic bread, about ½ inch thick

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 large ripe tomato, cut into large chunks

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 teaspoon (5 g) salt

1 teaspoon (5 g) sugar

½ teaspoon (3 g) pepper

18 slices Serrano ham (if you cannot find Serrano ham in your area, you can substitute prosciutto)      

Preheat the oven at 250°F (120°C.)  Place the bread slices in a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.  In the meantime, process the garlic cloves in a food processor until they are finely chopped.  Add the tomato and process until smooth.  Gradually add the olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool down for at least five minutes. Using a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of the tomato mixture on each slice of bread.  Top with a slice of Serrano ham and serve. 

Make it ahead:  The tomato mixture can be made up two days ahead.