Irresistible Pan con Tomate: A Taste of Spanish Summer

Authentic Spanish Pan con Tomate Recipe: Grilled Bread with Tomato

Pan con tomate, the crown jewel of Spanish tapas, is a testament to the power of simplicity. With just five ingredients – bread, tomato, olive oil, garlic, and salt – this dish transforms humble elements into a culinary masterpiece. Perfect for lazy summer evenings or as a crowd-pleasing appetizer, pan con tomate celebrates the essence of Mediterranean cuisine.

Originating from Catalonia, the northeastern jewel of Spain, pan con tomate (or pa amb tomàquet in Catalan) shares its birthplace with other gastronomic treasures like cava and paella. This unpretentious dish embodies the region’s culinary philosophy: let quality ingredients shine.

Remember, the key to perfect pan con tomate lies in its simplicity. Don’t overthink it – sometimes, less truly is more.

Unlocking Tomato Flavor: The Grating Technique

Unlike its Italian cousin bruschetta, pan con tomate uses tomato pulp rather than chopped tomatoes. The secret? A box grater.

Cut your ripe tomato in half and grate it flesh-side down, allowing the pulp to collect while the skin stays in your hand. This method, popular in Spanish kitchens, efficiently extracts maximum flavor and creates the ideal consistency for spreading.

Pro tip: This grating technique is a game-changer for quick homemade pizza or pasta sauces too!

Bread: The Sturdy Foundation

While thin slices of rustic bread are traditional, we’re opting for a heartier base. Enter ciabatta: its open crumb structure and substantial texture make it the ideal canvas for generous helpings of tomato goodness.

We’ll transform the ciabatta into the perfect vehicle for tomato pulp by drizzling it with olive oil and broiling until it’s golden brown with tantalizingly crisp edges. This extra step ensures your bread can handle the juicy tomato topping without becoming soggy.

The Art of Assembly

Now comes the fun part: bringing it all together. Here’s how to layer flavors for maximum impact:

  1. Rub the toasted bread with a halved garlic clove. The rough surface acts like a natural grater, imparting just the right amount of garlicky punch.
  2. Spoon the seasoned tomato pulp generously over the bread. Don’t be shy – this is the star of the show!
  3. Drizzle with your best extra-virgin olive oil. Be generous – this is where the luxurious mouthfeel comes from.
  4. Finish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt for texture and flavor enhancement.

While purists might stop here, adventurous eaters can experiment with toppings. A single brined anchovy or a dollop of garlicky aioli can take this dish to new heights, mimicking the beloved flavor profile of a BLT sandwich.

Pan con Tomate (Spanish-Style Grilled Bread With Tomato) Recipe


  • 2 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, split in half horizontally lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch slices
  • Extra-virgin olive oil,divided
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, split in half
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel


  1. Prepare the tomato pulp: Halve the tomatoes and grate them using a box grater set over a large bowl. The flesh will collect in the bowl while the skin remains in your hand. Discard the skins and season the pulp with kosher salt to taste.
  2. Toast the bread: Position an oven rack 4 inches below the broiler and preheat to high. Brush the cut sides of the ciabatta with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Broil for 2-3 minutes until crisp and lightly charred at the edges. Remove from the oven and rub each piece with the cut side of a garlic clove.
  3. Assemble and serve: Generously spoon the tomato mixture over the toasted bread. Drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve immediately and enjoy your homemade pan con tomate!
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
121 Calories
5g Fat
17g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 121
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 333mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 3mg 16%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 95mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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