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.