I’ve got a very quick post for you today, and an even quicker recipe. I hesitate to even call it a recipe, in fact; it’s so simple that you could do it with your eyes shut. Pan con tomate is one of my favorite dishes to order at a tapas restaurant, and it took me very little time to start recreating it at home. Have you had it before?
I like to think of pan con tomate – which simply means bread with tomato – as Spain’s simpler take on Italian bruschetta. With toasted bread, tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil, the two recipes essentially have the same ingredients. But where they differ is in their execution: there’s no chopping involved in pan con tomate, just a whole lot of rubbing. Rubbing isn’t a verb you come across often in a recipe, but it’s the best way to describe the method for making pan con tomate. After toasting slices of bread, you rub some roasted garlic onto the slices and then rub on half a tomato, squeezing as you go along. The juicier the tomato the better, as you want all of the wonderful pulp and juice to soak into the bread. It’s a fun process that celebrates the ripeness of tomatoes in a unique way. Followed by a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt, you’re set. You can eat it by itself or top it with cheese, basil or even some white beans. I often eat it plain alongside all of my other favorite tapas. Sometimes I’ll make it as a quick lunch with a salad on the side, and you could definitely use it as the base for a sandwich.
You might be wondering how this recipe is so popular and blog-worthy. Rubbing a tomato onto some bread? What’s so special about that? But that’s the magic of pan con tomate. The crusty bread, aromatic garlic, juicy tomato and flavorful olive oil combine perfectly. It’s simplicity at its finest. Plus, I always give extra points for recipes that deliver on flavor with just a couple of ingredients (and minutes in the kitchen) involved.
I hope you’re enjoying my little roundup of my favorite Spanish dishes! If you missed any of them, here’s the recipe for spinach with pine nuts and raisins, and here’s the recipe for patatas bravas. I’ve got one more in the pipeline that I can’t wait to share with you!
- 1 baguette, sliced
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 large or 3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut in half
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Optional toppings:
- Fresh basil
- White beans
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add the sliced bread and the clove of garlic to a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the bread is toasted. Check periodically to make sure the garlic does not start burning.
- Once the garlic and bread have cooled enough for you to touch them, cut the garlic clove in half and vigorously rub it onto each slice. If the garlic is very soft, you can use a knife to spread it on instead.
- Next, rub the tomato halves onto each slice with the sliced part of the tomato facing the bread. Squeeze as you rub, allowing the pulp and juice to soak into the bread.
- Drizzle with some olive oil and top with sea salt (I use a generous amount). Serve immediately, either plain or with any of the toppings mentioned above.
Hi Julia! You’re right, simple dishes that deliver the most flavor are always a score in my book! This looks so delicious, especially now with tomatoes being in their peak season here in NJ. Can’t wait to try this!
Thanks for visiting, Donna! I hope you enjoy the recipe. And you’re right – now is the best time to make this, with all of the beautiful ripe tomatoes available right now!
This brings back memories from my childhood, it used to me my standard merenda (a snack or what kids bring to school with them).
Thanks for visiting, Dimitris! I would have happily brought this to school as a kid!
Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
Oh my goodness, Julia! I’m so happy you shared this with me because I’ve never heard of it and it sounds divine! Sometimes the simplest of recipes deliver big on flavor. I can imagine enjoying these toasts with wine… as an appetizer they’d be just perfect. Keep your Spanish dishes comin! I love it! xx
Thanks, Traci! I think you’d really like this! Did you grow tomatoes this year? It would be perfect with some juicy home-grown tomatoes 🙂
My favorite TOO, Julia!!! So simple and so fresh and delicious.
NEXT: a ticket To Barcelona!!!!!!
Silvia, a ticket to Barcelona sounds wonderful! I really need to go! I’m glad you love pan con tomate too 🙂
You are so right about the simplicity. And having sampled this, you’re so right about the flavor, too!
One thing that came to mind when I read your phrase “juicy tomato” was how big a variation there can be in the composition. So many store-bought tomatoes seem to have made it to the shelves to begin with for their structural integrity (useful for shipping and longevity) at the expense of what should be their main purpose — juiciness and flavor. I’m going to guess you’re getting the good kind!
Oh yes, the kind of tomato really matters with this dish. The timing of my post coincides pretty well with when you should be making it – at the end of the summer, when all of the tomatoes are nice and ripe. It was actually a coincidence that I posted it at this time, but I’m glad I did!
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen says
I love this, Julia. Something quick, simple and delicious. I have a ton of tomatoes at the moment – everything is ripening at once – some overly ripe – so this would be the perfect way to use them. I’ll be eating this for lunch this weekend – thanks!
Overly ripe tomatoes would be perfect with this, Geraldine! I hope you enjoyed it – let me know how it turned out!
Whenever I hear the phrase “pan con tomate” I always think of the the very first time that I met my future son-in-law, who demonstrated how to make it! I don’t think that we had any roasted garlic available then, so I’m very eager to try your recipe, Julia. I agree with Traci that this would make a perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine. With all the wonderfully ripe tomatoes available this time of year, we’ll be enjoying pan con tomate very soon! Thanks for sharing, as always.
Oh yes, I don’t think we’ll ever forget that, will we? It can definitely transform a ho-hum sandwich into something a bit more special. We have him to thank for introducing us to such a fabulous little dish! And I agree – a glass of nice red wine with this would be fabulous!
Kathryn @ The Scratch Artist says
This looks so so good! I am so happy you posted this. Despite the fact that you don’t consider it a recipe, I am completely inspired. I have never had this before or heard of it (am I under a rock?). I have had tomatoes on toast in probably every form imaginable but not this way. I am so eager to try this. And using it as sandwich bread…YES! So thrilled I stumbled upon your blog this morning. Having a pan con tomato party today 🙂
Hi Kathryn! I hope you enjoy the recipe – you’ll have to let me know what you think of it! I hadn’t heard of it until my husband introduced it to me, but now I’m always on the lookout for it at tapas restaurants. So no, you’re not under a rock 🙂 Thanks for visiting!
Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen says
This pan con tomate looks delicious and perfect for quick dinners. SO simple, delicious and flavorful!
Hi Anu! Yes, this is the perfect base for a quick meal – I hope you enjoy it!
Meg @ NomingthruLife says
I really shouldn’t venture to your blog when I’m hungry. It makes me make a grocery list in my head that involves everything you’ve made lately. But seriously, this little baguette action you’ve got going on… serious yum!
Hehe, thanks Meg! It’s all about the baguette action, right? I can’t get enough!
Seeing this is my blog reader made me swoon! I love pan con tomate. At my old office, my Spanish supervisor used to bring everything she needed to make it – single clove of garlic included – and then get busy during the lunch break, making everyone else in the teeny tiny lunch room drool over that deliciousness. Of course, being Spanish and all that was only her appetizer, and everything else she brought looked amazing too 😛 Love the Spanish way!
I’m so glad you’re already a pan con tomate fan, Sophie! And that’s so cool you had a Spanish supervisor – I hope she shared all her wonderful treats with you!
I love this recipe/non-recipe haha! I’ve never heard of pan con tomate before but I’m loving it! It’s like a little twist on garlic bread kinda. I want to throw a tapas night now and serve these with some wine 🙂
Hi Izzy! Yes, it is definitely like garlic bread, just with a nice tomato twist! And a glass of wine with this sounds fabulous 🙂