The wonder that is pan con tomate

I love Spanish food, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. And as I’m having a break in Spain, decided I’d come up with a few Spanish-inspired recipes for you. Here’s the first…a deliciously tasty combo that works any time of the day.

Well, directly translated it means bread with tomatoes. This ubiquitous Spanish dish comes in many variations. Sometimes it looks almost like plain toast – you can’t really see any tomato, but when you take a bite, the flavours overtake your senses.

At a restaurant local to where I stayed in Catalonia a few years back, they delivered a bowl of plump tomatoes, garlic cloves, lightly toasted bread and olive oil to the table as you sat down. You didn’t order it, it just came. The idea…cut the garlic cloves in half and rub vigorously on the bread. Do the same with the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Amazingly delicious.

It’s one of my favourite breakfasts in Spain. In some hotels you’ll find the bowl of mushed up tomatoes on the buffet…simply load onto the bread or toast and you’re ready to go. Or in most cafes you can simply order it, here’s one I had recently at Busquets in Cabo de Palos, Murcia on a beautifully still, clear morning.

Pan con tomate with a of the best breakfast venues ever!
Pan con tomate with a view…one of the best breakfast venues ever!

So few ingredients make for such a wonderful dish. Obviously you need really flavoursome tomatoes and garlic and good olive oil. Here’s my version.

The simplest of ingredients
The simplest of ingredients

This quantity was good for three large slices of toast and perfect for lunch for two accompanied by a plate of thinly sliced, fresh Manchego.

I like loads of tomato on my pan con tomate
I like loads of tomato on my pan con tomate

1 large plum tomato

3 slices white bread/baguette

1 clove of garlic

2 tbsps olive oil plus extra to serve

Salt and pepper

Peel the tomato by immersing in boiling water for about 2 mins and then removing the skin.

Cut it up into small pieces and pour over the olive oil. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mush up the tomato a bit and leave to marinade for at least two hours, overnight is good.

Toast the bread.

Cut the garlic clove in half and rub it over the warm toasted bread.

Top with the tomato topping and serve.

My husband has an aversion to salt so I don’t put salt in the mix but put it on the table and grind it liberally on my portion. Tomatoes and salt are a heavenly flavour explosion!

Do you have a favourite Spanish dish or Spanish restaurant? I’d love to hear about it, so do get in touch.

My blog will be bursting with Spanish inspiration over the next week or so, from shopping to cooking to eating out. Make sure you don’t miss anything.

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