One of the greatest things about the places we uncovered for Off Menu was restaurants like Mockingbird Hill that were totally transporting. Yes, it's a bar in DC and has a lot of unique flairs like pour-over coffee, punk music, and industrial decor. But, the owner, Derek Brown, is a self-proclaimed sherry advocate and has made Mockingbird Hill into a sherry and ham bar that could just as easily be somewhere in Spain.
The food was simple but well done and one of my favorites was his twists on the classic tapas bite, Pan Con Tomate. If you haven't had it before it's toasted bread that gets topped with tomato and garlic and is major for someone like me whose top comfort foods are tomatoes, garlic, and bread! But Derek tops it with everything from aged Manchego cheese to marinated white anchovies and Serrano ham so we took a page from his book and did the same!
halved and seeds scooped out
peeled and halved
ideally Spanish, plus extra for finishing
Grate the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Then, using the fine holes, grate the garlic over the tomatoes. Add the measured salt, the olive oil and the vinegar, and stir to combine, then sit aside 5 to 10 minutes before using.
Meanwhile, toast or grill the bread until it is lightly charred. Spread a large spoonful of the grated tomato mixture onto the bread, then top with a few curls of ham, a few shavings of cheese, another drizzle of oil, and serve.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp