Spanish tapas night or a garden full of tomatoes is the perfect excuse to make this Spanish Tomato Bread (Pan Con Tomate) recipe. It’s an easy and fresh 6-ingredient appetizer you can whip up in minutes!Jump to Recipe
The best pan con tomate recipe
Your search for an easy appetizer or the perfect tapas recipe is over. This Spanish Tomato Bread (Pan Con Tomate) is an easy tapas recipe you can whip up in minutes. Featuring grated heirloom tomatoes and basil served over garlic-rubbed bread, every bite will have your guests reaching for more.
This is a 6-ingredient tapas recipe that will transport you to the Catalonia region of Spain with just one bite of fresh, bright, and juicy tomato goodness. It’s a classic appetizer that you can pair with virtually anything. Make it a part of tapas night, serve it before the Pan-Fried Romesco Shrimp is ready, or include it with your Charcuterie Board for Two. Spanish tomato bread always fits in!
What is pan con tomate?
Pan con tomate (“pam too-mah cat”) is a famous tapas recipe from the Catalonia region of Spain. Also known as pa amb tomàquet or pan tumaca throughout Spain, this easy appetizer is made by topping a tomato pulp mixture on top of garlic-rubbed toasted bread. Each piece is finished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt to enhance the fresh flavors.
Pan con tomate vs. bruschetta
Both Spanish pan con tomate and Italian bruschetta feature tomatoes on top of crusty bread, but the recipes vary slightly. Bruschetta is made with finely diced tomatoes mixed with herbs and other ingredients and topped with balsamic reduction or parmesan cheese. Spanish tomato bread, on the other hand, is much more simple and leaves the tomato pulp as the main flavor driver on the bread.
Catalan tomato bread ingredients
- Heirloom tomatoes – Fresh heirloom tomatoes are incredibly bright and flavorful all on their own.
- Basil – Fresh is best. Finely chop the basil and stir it into the tomato pulp for a burst of freshness.
- Extra virgin olive oil and salt – As a finishing flavor enhancer on the tomatoes.
- Garlic – Rubbing fresh garlic cloves onto the toasted bread gives every bite a punchy and savory flavor. You can skip this part if you want but garlic always makes everything better!
- Baguette or ciabatta – A crusty baguette or loaf of ciabatta is sliced in half before being toasted until crispy and golden brown. This is the vessel that will hold your tomato topping, so make sure the bread you use is thick and sturdy.
How to make pan con tomate
- Toast the bread: Cut the baguette in half and brush the cut side with olive oil. Toast the bread in the air fryer, toaster oven, under the broiler, or on a grill until it’s golden and crispy.
- Rub with garlic: Rub the cut side of the grilled bread generously with a garlic clove.
- Make the tomato topping: Cut the tomatoes in half. Grate the tomatoes using a box grater to extract the pulp. Finely chop the skins and mix them in with the pulp. To finish, stir the fresh basil in with the tomatoes.
- Assemble the tomato bread: Spoon the tomato filling on top of the grilled bread. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top and add a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Pan con tomate is left as-is once assembled. However, certain regions of Spain will include toppings, such as grated manchego cheese or parmesan cheese, anchovies, chopped olives, or Iberian ham or prosciutto.
Include a platter of tomato bread on tapas night or with your other party snacks. It pairs wonderfully next to Spanish olives, Mediterranean radicchio salad, charcuterie boards, shishito peppers, or as an appetizer before the penne alla vodka is ready.
Frequently asked questions
Any kind of hearty, rustic, or crusty bread can be used in a pan con tomate recipe. As long as it holds up well after being doused in oil, toasted, and rubbed with garlic, you can use it!
In Catalan, tomàquets de penjar (hanging tomatoes) are the preferred choice. However, fresh heirloom, beefsteak, or cherry tomatoes will do just fine. You can make pan con tomate with canned tomatoes but the flavor won’t be nearly as bright or fresh.
The tomato mixture can be assembled 1 day ahead of serving the pan con tomate. Just keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. The bread can also be sliced and kept in a container at room temperature, but it’s best to toast it right before serving. When it’s time to eat, simply toast the bread, rub on the garlic, and top with tomatoes.
Looking for more fresh and flavorful appetizers?
- Whipped Feta Lemon Dip with Roasted Tomatoes
- Fresh Salmon Tartare with Avocado
- Mozzarella Arancini
- Brie with Fig Jam, Almonds, and Berries
Did you try this Spanish Tomato Bread (Pan Con Tomate)? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below and giving this recipe a rating! Don’t forget to take a picture tag me on Instagram or use #lenaskitchenblog to be featured in my stories! I love seeing what you come up with!
Spanish Tomato Bread (Pan Con Tomate)
- Cut a baguette in half and then into 2 inch pieces. Brush with olive oil on the cut side of the bread. If using ciabatta, cut in half and then in half again, you want to have 2 inch pieces.
- Toast the bread in the air fryer for 6-7 minutes at 400F, or broil for 2-3 minutes (watch closely not to burn), or grill the bread for 2-3 minutes on the cut side. (Toasting/baking time will totally depend on the type and thickness of your bread.)
- Take the cloves of garlic and rub generously on the cut-side of the bread all over.
- Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and grate on a large part of a box grater, leaving the skins. Finely chop the skins and mix into the grated flesh.
- Finely chop the fresh basil and add to the tomatoes, mix to combine.
- Lay the toasts out on a platter or board, add a few spoonfuls of the tomato and basil mixture, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and generously sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
- Serve immediately while they’re still crunchy.