Pan con Tomate, aka Spanish Tomato Bread | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Pan con Tomate, aka Spanish Tomato Bread

Toasted bread smeared with grated tomatoes and garlic is a Catalan staple

Seems like it’s been a good year for tomatoes in Central Oregon, and that’s not always the case as those of us who have lived here for many seasons can tell you. The tomatoes are weighing down the vines in the backyard garden box at my house and I’m seeing some stunning beauties at the farmers markets, so a tomato recipe seems quite appropriate at this time.

Pan con Tomate, aka Spanish Tomato Bread
Adobe Stock
Toasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with grated tomato, salt and olive oil is a staple in the Catalan region of Spain.

Last fall I was fortunate enough to take an incredible trip with my daughter to France and Spain. Food was a focus for us and we enjoyed some amazing meals, for sure. One of my favorites ended up being a very simple dish, a Spanish staple from the Catalan region that's served throughout the country, and it’s nothing more than tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and bread. Pan Con Tomate, pa amb tomàquet in Catalan, is also known as pan tumaca and I’m simplifying it further to Spanish Tomato Bread.

While similar to the Italian Bruschetta, the Pan Con Tomate is made exclusively with tomatoes. It showed up on breakfast buffets, at tapas bars and on lunch and dinner menus just about everywhere we went along the Costa Brava region in Northeastern Spain.

Pan con Tomate, aka Spanish Tomato Bread
Donna Britt
Fresh tomatoes, salt, olive oil, garlic and bread are all you need to make the simple, satisfying Pan con Tomate.
Very ripe tomatoes are ideal for this dish and the bread is important, too. Ciabatta is probably the closest we can get to the Catalan bread, which is airy and light yet sturdy enough to hold up to the moisture from the tomatoes without getting too soggy. The bread is typically toasted and brushed with fresh, grated garlic and the tomatoes are either grated or cut in half and rubbed directly onto toasted bread. In this recipe, we’ll grate the tomatoes and season them with salt. Speaking of, you’ll want to use a coarse salt (Kosher salt or sea salt work well) and a high quality olive oil to make this dish shine.

Pan Con Tomate (Spanish Tomato Bread)

Serves 4-6

  • 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil, enough for brushing onto bread plus more
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread, or other bread of choice
  • Several garlic cloves, peeled

Cut tomatoes in half. Grate the cut side of each half on the large holes of a box grater set over a bowl. Stop grating when you are only left with the tomato skins. Discard skins.

Strain the grated tomato through a fine-mesh strainer without pressing on the solid pieces. Return the grated, strained tomato to the bowl, adding a generous pinch of kosher salt. Stir to combine.

Cut bread loaf in half and then cut each half into 3-4-inch long pieces. Brush both sides of bread with olive oil and grill or toast until lightly browned with a slight char on edges. You can grill it on the grill or you can toast the bread slices in an oven.

Rub peeled garlic cloves on both sides of bread slices.

When ready to serve, top each bread slice with a spoonful of grated tomato and gently rub it into the bread with the back of a spoon or a butter knife. Then spoon more grated tomato onto each slice. Drizzle with more olive oil before serving.

You may also place toasted bread around the bowl of grated tomato and let each guest spread the tomato on their own piece of toast.

About The Author

Donna Britt

Food writer, food stylist, recipe tester, cookbook editor, podcast producer/host are a few of the creative hats Donna Britt wears. Donna loves to hike, paddle board and spend quality time with family and friends. Oh, and she also collects cookbooks and cast iron cooking vessels.
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