Pan con tomate is a Spanish tomato bread from Catalonia. It calls for 4 ingredients and is ready in 15 minutes. Crusty bread and fresh tomatoes make this Spanish specialty very delicious.
One of the most important parts of Spanish cuisine is tapas which are small plates that are perfect for gatherings and are meant to share. Some of our favorite Spanish tapas are gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), croquettes, garlic mushrooms and patatas bravas. Pan con tomate is a Catalan tapa that's so simple yet unbelievably delicious! Read on to learn more about this classic Spanish recipe.
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About pan con tomate
Originally from Catalonia this Spanish bread is also known as pa amb tomàquet. It's a staple in Spanish restaurants and is considered a classic dish.
I learned about pan con tomate when we first visited Spain a few years ago. It was available at every restaurant and each served it in a different way. Some restaurants would simply bring you a basket of toasted bread, a few cloves of garlic and a fresh juicy tomato sliced in half to rub on the bread. Some other restaurants use freshly grated tomatoes like we have here to make Spanish tomato bread.
Just like gazpacho, the key to the best pan con tomate is using the best ingredients available: the best tomatoes, the best olive oil and the best bread.
Tips to make the best pan con tomate
- Pick the best tomatoes: In Catalonia, tomàquets de penjar (hanging tomatoes) are specially used to make pan amb tomàquet since you can easily rub them on the bread without needing to grate them. However, if you cannot find this specific type of tomato, use any fresh, large and very ripe tomato to make this recipe.
- Choose the right bread: Rustic artisan or country loaves cut into thick slices work best for this recipe. Here I opted for a large ciabatta that I sliced into pieces.
- Toast properly: I usually toast the bread slices on a cast iron skillet, but you can also toast them in the oven using the broiler.
How to make pan con tomate
- Wash and dry the tomatoes. Cut a small part of the tomatoes and then grate them using a box grater and place the grated tomatoes in a bowl. You can discard the tomato skin.
- Add the olive oil and the pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
- Cut the bread into pieces and brush with olive oil.
- Heat a pan (such as a cast iron skillet) over medium high heat. Once it's hot, place the bread in the pan, cut side down and lightly press with a spatula to make sure it toasts completely.
- Rub each piece of toasted bread with a clove of garlic.
- Top with the tomato olive oil mixture and add more olive oil if desired.
This simple Spanish tomato bread is usually served as is. However, you can also top it with manchego cheese, jamon serrano or even anchovies.
You can serve pan con tomate 2 ways:
- Make a platter of toasted bread topped with grated tomatoes and serve.
- Place the toasted bread on a platter with a few cloves of garlic and a bowl of grated tomatoes and have each person make their own.
Frequently asked questions
This Spanish tomato bread is a bit different from its Italian cousin. While pan con tomate uses only grated tomatoes, bruschetta calls for chopped tomatoes mixed with herbs and sometimes red onion. However, both are served over toasted crusty bread.
You can use a food processor as well. However, my preference is the grater for better texture.
You can grate and season the tomatoes up to 4 hours ahead of time (keep it in the refrigerator). It's best to toast the bread right before serving.
More Spanish Recipes
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Pan Con Tomate (Spanish Tomato Bread)
- 3 large tomatoes ripe
- 4 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 loaf rustic bread such as ciabatta
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- Wash and dry the tomatoes. Cut a small part of each tomato and grate them in a bowl using a box grater. Discard the tomato skins.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt to the tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Slice the bread into pieces and brush with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Place the bread slices cut side down in the pan and gently press using a spatula. Toast for about 5 minutes or until they're golden brown. Alternatively, you can toast the bread in the oven using a broiler. To do so, have the bread slices brushed with olive oil in a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan on a rack about 5-6 inches below the broiled and broil for 3 to 5 minutes until they are golden and toasted.
- Once the bread is toasted, rub it with the garlic clove and top with the tomato mixture. Serve immediately.
- Alternatively, you can place the toasted bread on a platter with the garlic cloves and the grated tomato mix and have each person make their own pan con tomate.
- If you don't have enough tomatoes, skip the grating and slice the tomato in half and rub it on the toasted bread instead.
- Since this recipe is very simple , it's best to use ingredients with the best quality.