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Maltese Bread With Tomatoes (Hobz Biz-Zejt)
From: Ramon

The national dish of Malta. Tasty, easy to make, ideal for picnics or days by the sea. The primary ingredients are bread, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. The other ingredients vary widely, although capers and olives are almost universally included. If using fresh tomatoes, make sure they are soft and juicy rather than firm to the touch. This simple dish is popular as a take-out meal but is also served as an appetizer in most restaurants, and as a bar snack in village pubs. In the latter cases the bread is often toasted, a bit like bruschetta. You can make anything from a single portion to a large-family size meal to a large event.

SERVES 4 -6 , 12 slices

  • 1 loaf crusty bread (the best kind is farmhouse style bread with a decent crust rather than soft, sponge-like fanc bread)
  • olive oil
  • 6 juicy tomatoes (or 1 can thick tomato paste)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pickled capers
  • sliced ripe olives

Optional

  • chopped fresh green pepper (optional)
  • pickled onion (optional)

Pour the olive oil into a plate.

Slice the bread, then dip one side of each slice into the oil. Squeeze out the excess.

If using fresh tomatoes, slice them in half then rub the cut side over the bread until it is red. If using tomato paste, just spread over the bread.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add capers, olive slices, chopped green peppers and other ingredients on top.