Pan con Tomate
Pan con Tomate

Pan con tomate is simplicity itself, with freshly grated tomatoes, salt and olive oil on toasted chunks of bread rubbed with garlic. It’s a lazy summer recipe that you can serve as an appetizer or side dish.

In this recipe

  • What is pan con tomato?
  • The best bread
  • The best tomatoes
  • Make it ahead

Bread. Tomatoes. Olive oil. When you have just a few great ingredients, magic happens. Sit at any tapas bar during tomato season, and a plate of toasted farmhouse bread drenched in garlic and topped with a touch of olive oil and lovely red tomato paste emerges.

In Spain, many people enjoy these tomato-covered pieces of bread for breakfast. Served as an appetizer, they are sometimes topped with ham, anchovies or a slice of cheese. Of course, you can add your own toppings beyond the basics, such as fresh herbs or hard-boiled egg slices.

What is pan con tomato?

It all started in Catalan in north-eastern Spain. Locals use hanging tomatoes from local markets to make Pan Con Tomate. Even Madrid residents don’t have the privilege of experiencing this special local version (you can’t buy the special tomatoes outside of Catalan). Luckily, the city invented their own version, which you can see here.

To prepare Madrid-style pan con tomate, scrape a tomato across the large holes of a grater and allow the pulp and juice to collect in a bowl. Place the tomato treat on toasted bread rubbed with a clove of garlic and drizzle with olive oil.

The best bread for pan con tomate

A rustic bread with lots of flavor is the best bread. When you’re short on ingredients, you want to use the best quality you can find. I like to use thick slices of ciabatta bread that are rich and filling.

Cut the loaf in half for easier slicing (flat side down on the cutting board). You want slices that are thick enough to support the juicy tomatoes and prevent the bread from becoming soggy. Aim for a size you can hold with your hands, about 3 to 4 inches long. Remember, these are rustic bites, so don’t stress about perfection.

Toast or grill the bread under the grill. Your goal is to dry the bread a bit on the outside and leave it chewy on the inside with a nice golden finish. Charred edges are delicious too!

The best tomatoes for pan con tomate

Locally ripe and juicy summer tomatoes (as opposed to greenhouse tomatoes) give you the best tomato flavor and texture. Try visiting your local farmers market or, if you have a garden, use tomatoes you’ve grown yourself. They should feel heavy but firm for their size.

How to get ahead

These little toasts are great with drinks before the main course is done. Preparing the components and assembling them just before serving makes them extra convenient.

Grate the tomatoes and store the flesh at room temperature for a few hours or up to a day in the fridge before serving to allow it to come to room temperature for the best flavor.

Also, toast the bread a few hours ahead of time and let it crisp up in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes to get it crispy again. Brush with the pulp and drizzle with more oil just before serving.

Celebrate summer tomatoes

  • Tomato and ricotta tart
  • Bruschetta with tomatoes and basil
  • Pineapple Tomato Salsa
  • Guacamole with charred sweetcorn, bacon and tomato
  • Stuffed tomatoes with mozzarella and basil

Pan con tomato

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
3 minutes

total time
13 minutes

up to 8 servings

up to 18 discs


  • 1 loaf Ciabatta Breadabout 1 pound

  • 1/4 Cup olive oilplus more for drizzling

  • 1 to 2 Garlic clovespeeled off

  • 2 to 3 large ripe tomatoes (Above 2 lb), cored and halved crosswise

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher saltor to taste

  • Flaky Sea Saltfor garnish


  1. Prepare and toast bread:

    Place an oven rack 7 to 8 inches from the grill element and turn the grill to high.

    Halve the ciabatta bread to make it easier to slice. Place the flat sides of the loaf on a cutting board and cut each into about 1 1/2 inch slices. Depending on the size of the bread, cut the slices in half. They target slices that are about 4 inches long, a good size that you can easily pick up with your hands and bite into.

    Spread the slices evenly on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil

    Fry the slices for 2 to 3 minutes or until the edges are lightly charred and the bread is crisp. Allow to cool slightly, then scrape the garlic cloves over the surface of the bread.

  2. Grate the tomatoes:

    Place a box grater in a shallow bowl. Grate the tomatoes against large holes of the grater. Flatten your hand as you grate and move it back and forth until the pulp falls into the bowl and only the skins remain. Remove the shells and stir in the salt. Taste and add more salt if you like.

  3. Assemble and serve the pan con tomate:

    Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the tomato mixture over each slice of bread. Drizzle with more oil, sprinkle with flaky salt and serve.

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nutritional information (per serving)
232 calories
9g Fat
33g carbohydrates
6g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!