Just grate tomatoes and combine with bread! This is a recipe for Pan con tomate, a very easy snack popular in Spanish bars.
Spanish bar snacks
In Spain, there are many establishments called "bar" which are a combination of a café and an a tavern, where you can enjoy small dishes called "tapas" in the evening and coffee in the morning. It's similar to the concept of an Italian "bar" (also spelled the same way, "BAR").
The difference with Italian bars, however, is that in Italy, there are few bars that have a tavern-like role, but have a strong café role. While you can certainly order alcohol in the evening, the bar snacks are typically limited to nuts, and many bars close for the night.
In Italy, particularly in Venice, there are local places called "bacaro" which are similar to the Spanish bar concept. These places resemble bar in spain, offering coffee in the morning and a wide variety of small dishes and drinks in the evening. However, in Venice, there is a unique tradition of drinking "caffè corretto," which is an espresso with a small amount of alcohol added. This gives the feeling of an tavern that is open from morning onwards rather than just a café.
Going back to the topic, in Spanish bars, by the evening, an assortment of small dishes is already prepared and displayed on the counter. You are free to choose and eat whatever you like from there. If you have a craving for a warm tapas dish, you can also place an order and have it freshly prepared for you.
What is Pan con tomate?
"Pan con tomate" is the Spanish term for bread with tomato. It is a dish from the Catalonia region, including the city of Barcelona. In Catalan, it is called "pa amb tomàquet."
Given its simple nature of combining grated tomato with bread, there are various ways to prepare it.
The most basic method involves slicing crusty bread, such as pan de campagne, ensuring that the bread has a firm crust to prevent it from becoming soggy with the tomato's moisture. Then, the cut side of the tomato is rubbed directly onto the bread. Optionally, the bread can be grilled or rubbed with garlic to enhance the flavor.
Other methods include blending the tomato in a mixer or using a grater to grate the tomato.
In the Catalonia region, where pan con tomate is commonly enjoyed, it is said that there are separate types of tomatoes sold for regular cooking and specifically for making pan con tomate.
Because of this, I feel that the method of directly rubbing the tomato onto the bread may have a lower success rate outside of Catalonia. Therefore, for this recipe, I have chosen the method of grating the tomato, which is relatively foolproof and easy to do.
Italian and Spanish Tomato Dishes
I believe one of the reasons why grating the tomato gives an instant Spanish feel is because of the famous dish gazpacho, which is already well-known as a Spanish cuisine. Despite being a tomato-based dish like pan con tomate, when you grate the tomato, it becomes a completely different dish that you wouldn't typically experience in Italy, where tomato-based dishes are abundant.
In Italian cuisine, a widely used ingredient called "passata di pomodoro," which is essentially tomato puree, is made by simmering tomatoes and then puréeing them, resulting in a completely different flavor profile.
In addition to pan con tomate, there is a similar dish called bruschetta, which involves diced tomatoes seasoned with salt, olive oil, and basil.
- Bread - Ideally, use a large loaf of bread such as pain de campagne. If not available, use a baguette or similar.
- Tomatoes - When directly rubbing the tomato onto the bread, use fully ripe tomatoes with soft flesh. (In the Catalonia region, where pan con tomate is enjoyed, there are tomatoes specifically sold for making pan con tomate.)
- Olive oil - Use extra virgin olive oil with a good aroma.
- Salt - Unrefined sea salt (such as salt of Guérande) is recommended
- Garlic - Rubbing garlic onto the bread adds a fragrant flavor. If you prefer, you can omit it as it adds a slightly spicy kick.
Slice four large slices of bread, such as pain de campagne, and then cut in half. If not available, other types of bread such as baguettes can be used.
Place on a grill pan to brown.
When cooked, rub a cut of garlic on one side to scent it.
Cut the tomato in half horizontally. Take a grater and place the cut side of the tomato face down on the grater surface. As you grate, the flesh of the tomato will be grated, leaving only the skin behind towards the end.
After grating the tomato, add olive oil and season with salt to taste. Mix well until the tomato juices and olive oil are thoroughly combined, resulting in a slightly thick. The key is to mix until it becomes slightly creamy and well-blended.
Top the bread with the tomatoes and it is ready to serve!
If using a blender or hand blender is more convenient, you can also blanch the tomatoes, peel them, and blend them to achieve a similar result.
Furthermore, instead of bread, you can mix the grated tomato sauce with thin pasta like capellini to create a perfect summer dish, a refreshing cold pasta.
- 4 slices bread
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
- A pinch of salt
- ½ clove garlic
- Slice four large slices of bread, such as pain de campagne, and then cut in half. If not available, other types of bread such as baguettes can be used.
- Place on a grill pan to brown.
- When cooked, rub a cut of garlic on one side to scent it.
- Cut the tomato in half horizontally. Take a grater and place the cut side of the tomato face down on the grater surface. As you grate, the flesh of the tomato will be grated, leaving only the skin behind towards the end.
- After grating the tomato, add olive oil and season with salt to taste. Mix well until the tomato juices and olive oil are thoroughly combined, resulting in a slightly thick. The key is to mix until it becomes slightly creamy and well-blended.
- Top the bread with the tomatoes and it is ready to serve!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 77Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 94mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g