If you have ever been to a Spanish Tapas bar you will have seen rows of montaditos, slices of bread with a variety of flavourful toppings, on the bar or counter begging to be devoured. The term montadito comes from the word montar, meaning to mount, as a reference to the toppings mounted on the bread.
In the Basque country they are called Pintxos and it is common to stick a toothpick in each morsel, which makes picking them up easier but also helps the bar work out the bill when you’ve finished as the toothpicks are often colour coded by price. In Southern Spain these open sandwiches are called montaditos but they are essentially the same thing, a convenient way to eat when going from tapas bar to tapas bar or to serve guests at home with a wide variety of options. All in all, very little work with highly impressive results!
These little open faced sandwiches are served with an incredibly versatile selection of ingredients on top, from cured meats such as jamón or chorizo to seafood like, Cantabrian anchovies, or cheese like a good Manchego, the sky is really the limit! A good quality, long, crusty baguette will do nicely. Slice it up in medium size pieces and then select your ingredients. Here are some of our favourites;
Montadito of mojama and guindilla: Take a piece of sliced baguette, rub with a raw garlic clove and then squeeze half a tomato (the softer the better) on top of the bread. Then, drizzle a little good quality olive oil over the bread. Next, shave or very finely cut some mojama (cured loin of tuna) and place on top of the bread. A guindilla, which is a mildly spicy green picked pepper, will go perfectly nestled on top. Yum!
Montadito of anchoa Cantabrico and pimientos de piquillo: A favourite at Spanish Pig and it couldn’t be simpler, it’s also beautiful to present. Start with a piece of sliced baguette, place a piece of piquillo pepper (red preserved pepper) and then an anchovy on top. Secure with a toothpick if you have one handy to keep both ingredients on the bread.
Montadito of Jamon y manchego: Follow the same steps as above with garlic, tomato and olive oil, then take some jamon serrano and either fold or cut it into a shape about the same size as the bread. Cut up some manchego and place that on top……. complicated huh?
Montadito of hot Chorizo picante, goat’s cheese and a honey vinaigrette: Slice the cooking chorizo into slices, fry for 10 minutes or so until it has some nice colour. Then slice the goat cheese into thin slices (just smaller than the bread) and place it on top of the hot chorizo….it will melt the cheese a bit….for the better! Now drizzle that delicious slightly sweet dressing and que aproveche!
Of course, these are just a few ideas and the World is your montadito when it comes to choosing toppings. They make a colourful and impressive spread for a gathering of friends and family, so next time you’re serving the usual cheese and crackers, try some montaditos instead!