Pan Con Tomate is a lusciously simple Mediterranean tradition made with fabulous toasted bread topped with olive oil, garlic, and grated tomatoes. It’s an homage to everything we love about summer.
pan con tomate ~ what is it and why we love it
So many cuisines celebrate the simple combo of bread and tomatoes…in the American South there’s the classic tomato sandwich, the Italians have bruschetta, and the Spanish have their pan con tomate. Each culture puts them together a little bit differently but the result is equally delish. Here’s how they break down:
- tomato sandwich: thick slices of tomato in between two slices of bread spread with lots of mayonnaise.
- bruschetta: toasted slices of baguette topped with chopped tomato, basil, and olive oil.
- pan de tomate: grated tomato spread on toasted bread that has been rubbed with fresh garlic and drizzled with olive oil.
how do you grate a tomato?
It sounds a little strange, doesn’t it? But in the sunny Mediterranean it’s a treat, and so easy to do with a box grater. It’s the juicy essence of tomato.
- Slice the end off a tomato.
- Grate the cut side with the large holes on a box grater, into a bowl. It will be juicy, that’s good!
- Discard the remaining skin.
how to assemble pan con tomate
- Brush thick-ish slices of artisan bread lightly with olive oil and toast on the stove in a skillet, under the broiler, or in a toaster oven. If your bread is small enough you can do it in your toaster.
- Rub the cut edge of a clove of garlic over the toasted bread.
- Spread grated tomato over the surface of the bread.
- Top with thinly sliced tomatoes, or halved cherry tomatoes.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt and black pepper. Garnish with oregano leaves. Give it a final drizzle of oil.
- Devour asap.
tomato bread faqs
I like to use some sort of artisan bread, wither in baguette or boule (round) shape. The crusty style bread holds up well to the juicy tomatoes and doesn’t get soggy as quickly as softer breads.
You can drain it a bit, but keep most of those juices, they’ll soak into the bread and make it delicious. You can adjust the amount of liquid you use as you spoon it onto your bread.
You can make a quick salsa, or gazpacho with grated tomato. It also works as a raw sauce for pasta.
You can toast your bread and grate your tomato ahead of time, but don’t slice tomatoes or assemble the dish too much ahead or the bread will get soggy. One fun idea is to get your family or guests involved and let everyone assemble their own.
You can do lots of variations on this concept. I like to add a thin layer of fresh mozzarella on top of the grated tomato. You could also use ricotta. Basil leaves or pesto can be used. Fabulous olives can top the grated tomato.
It’s a fact that sometimes even the best looking tomatoes can taste a little blah. In that case I will sometimes add a splash of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar to brighten up the flavor. A touch of sugar can help to enhance the flavor as well. You can also season the tomato with salt and pepper, or even onion salt, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, or whatever appeals to you.
we’ve got tomato fever
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad
- Tomato and Parmesan Risotto
- Tomato Toast with Basil Mayonnaise
- Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato and Almond Pesto
- Grilled Cherry Tomato Bruschetta
- Grilled Cherry Tomato Bruschetta
- Panzanella Salad
Pan con Tomate
- 2 medium ripe red tomatoes
- 4 large slices crust artisan bread
- olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, sliced in half lenghtwise (no need to peel)
- assorted tomatoes and cherry tomatoes for topping
- fresh oregano leaves
- coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Slice the very end off the tomatoes and grate them using the largest holes on a box grater. Grate them until you are left with only the skin, which you'll discard.
- Brush one side of the bread slices with olive oil and toast until golden. I do this under the broiler, but you can also do it in a large skillet on the stove top. If you've got an outdoor grill fired up, use that!
- Rub the top surface of the toasted bread all over with the cut side of a clove of garlic. The rough surface of the toast will take in just the right amount of flavor.
- Spoon or spread the grated tomato over the surfaces of your toasts.
- Top with thinly sliced tomatoes, and halved cherry tomatoes.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt, cracked black pepper, and oregano leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and slice in half, thirds, or quarters. Serve asap. Note: each large slice of the bread I used will make 2 servings.