Pan con Tomate (Spanish Tomato Bread)

published Aug 16, 2023
Pan con Tomate (Spanish Tomato Bread) Recipe

This super simple Spanish tapa proves that you don't need a lot of ingredients to create delicious complex flavor.

Serves3 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
platter full of pan con tomate on a marble surface
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

There are very few things that fresh, in-season tomatoes can’t do in the kitchen. If your chicken sandwich is feeling a little bland, add a couple slices of tomato. Or you can try throwing together a caprese salad before friends arrive. Oh, and if you’re in search of a simple, cool-me-down meal at the end of a hot day, try a traditional gazpacho. If all else fails, however, you can always rely on this incredibly simple recipe for pan con tomate, also known as Spanish-style tomato toast.

If you’ve ever ventured to the region of Catalonia in Spain, which includes the coastal, tourist-favorite city of Barcelona, or if you’re simply a fan of traditional Spanish cuisine, you’ve likely heard of the vibrant dish that is pan con tomate. If you aren’t super familiar, but want a reliable summer tomato dish to keep in your rotation, you’ll want to commit this pan con tomate recipe to memory!

What Is Pan con Tomate?

Pan con tomate (which means “bread with tomato” in Spanish) is a traditional Catalonian dish, known in the Spanish region as pa amb tomàquet. The dish consists of toasted sliced bread brushed with grated garlic, and topped with freshly grated tomatoes, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Pan con tomate is typically eaten by itself or as a tapa as part of a meal

The most traditional way of preparing the dish includes using a particular type of Spanish vine-ripened tomatoes called tomàquet de penjar or ramallet tomatoes, which are sliced and grated directly on the surface of the toasted bread. Through this method, the grated tomato, as well as the tomato juices, gets on the bread, imparting its fresh flavor. 

If You’re Making Pan con Tomate, a Few Tips

Pan con tomate is a super-simple dish to make, but it delivers a great amount of flavor. This is why it’s important to use ripe summer tomatoes, as they’re the star of the show. Additionally, you’ll want to use sturdy country bread, good-quality olive oil, and fresh garlic.

  • Use ripe tomatoes. If you live near a farmers market, use this opportunity to pick out a few fresh, in-season tomatoes, like beefsteak tomatoes, to make pan con tomate. In-season tomatoes often taste a bit sweeter and less bitter or earthy than tomatoes that are out of season or ones that have been sitting in the refrigerator for a week. 
  • Use sturdy bread. When it comes to a dish like pan con tomate, you definitely want to reach for a thickly sliced loaf of country bread. You’ll want a bread that can withstand toasting or grilling, a drizzle of olive oil, and lots of moisture from the freshly grated tomatoes.
  • Use fresh garlic. Many recipes for pan con tomate often call for grating garlic cloves over the surface of the toasted bread before topping with the grated tomato. This comes from a common technique used to make garlic bread, in which the coarse surface of the bread as well as the heat from cooking softens the garlic clove and extracts flavor from it. In other words, this isn’t the best time to bring out the garlic powder.
  • Use coarse salt and good olive oil. Last but definitely not least, you want to make sure you have coarse salt, such as sea salt, as well as a high-quality olive oil on hand for both topping the bread slices and the grated tomato. The salt will add both flavor and texture, while the olive oil will help round out the freshness of the tomato.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Pan con Tomate (Spanish Tomato Bread) Recipe

This super simple Spanish tapa proves that you don't need a lot of ingredients to create delicious complex flavor.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 3 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3 (1 1/2-inch thick) slices

    country-style bread

  • 1

    large or 2 medium beefsteak tomatoes

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

  • 2 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

Instructions

  1. Halve 3 (1 1/2-inch thick) slices thick-cut country bread on a diagonal. Halve 1 large or 2 medium beefsteak tomatoes crosswise.

  2. Grate the cut side of each half on the large holes of a box grater set over a medium bowl, stopping when you are only left with the tomato skins. Discard the tomato skins.

  3. Strain the grated tomato through a fine-mesh strainer, but do not press on the solids. Return the tomato to the bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and stir to combine.

  4. Brush both sides of the bread with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

  5. Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add as many bread slices as will fit in a single layer and cook until toasted and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat toasting the remaining bread slices.

  6. Rub 2 peeled garlic cloves on both sides of the bread slices. Sprinkle the bread slices with a pinch of kosher salt.

  7. When ready to serve, top each bread slice with about 1 teaspoon of the grated tomato, and gently rub it into the bread with the back of a spoon. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the grated tomato onto each slice of bread in an even layer. Drizzle lightly with more extra-virgin olive oil before serving.