Pan con tomate is a simple and delicious recipe from the Catalan tradition. The recipe showcases the flavors and simplicity of Mediterranean food.
You can have pan con tomate for breakfast, a quick lunch, or an afternoon snack. It's excellent when ripe tomatoes are at their best during the hot summer season.
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Pan con tomate (bread with tomato) is also known as Pa amb tomàquet in Catalonia, pan tumaca in the rest of Spain, and pane al pomodoro in Italy.
It's a simple recipe from the peasant tradition, with a slice of rustic bread topped with ripe fresh tomatoes, sea salt, and plenty of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
The beauty of this recipe is the use of simple ingredients of the highest quality, the cornerstone of Mediterranean cooking.
So while pan con tomate is one of the simplest recipes on our blog, its success will be determined by your ability to find fresh, ripe, and tasty tomatoes, good artisanal bread, and good quality extra virgin olive oil.
If you are in for the challenge, get ready to be surprised by the wholesome, fresh, and genuine flavors of pan con tomate.
Here I'll show you the classic recipe - as my nonna would make it - and the modern one that you can find in tapas bars in Barcelona.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Get ripe sun-kissed summer tomatoes. Vine tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and other varieties of tomatoes are all good as long as the tomatoes are tasty and juicy, preferably from a farmer's market.
Artisanal bread from your local bakery is best. Avoid bread that comes in a plastic package.
We use Tuscan bread, but you can also get your local sourdough loaf, ciabatta bread, and even a rustic baguette.
It's best if the bread has a compact crumb with small holes that prevent the tomato and the oil from falling through.
Also, opt for lighter loaves of bread and avoid German-style, dark bread made from rye flour and with seeds. Their intense flavor will overpower the delicate taste of tomato olive oil flavor.
It must be extra virgin olive oil, best if cold pressed and made from olives of the Mediterranean (Italy, Spain, Greece).
Opt for sea salt or kosher salt, and avoid table salt.
Garlic is optional; rub it on the bread before adding the tomato. This recipe shouldn't be overly garlicky. A quick garlic rub is plenty.
How to make pan con tomate
Prepare the bread
Cut the bread into ⅓ inch (about 1 cm) thick slices.
If you like, you can lightly toast the bread in the oven, grill, or air fryer, but this is optional.
You can also rub the bread with garlic, which is also optional. Cut the garlic clove in half without peeling it, then rub the cut side on the crusty bread.
Classic pan con tomate
Rinse, dry, and cut the tomatoes in half.
Rub the cut side of the tomato on the bread until you are left with the peel.
Tip: use ripe tomatoes. You can discard the skin of the tomatoes or chop them up and add it on top of the bread.
Season Spanish tomato bread with a generous drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
Modern pan con tomate
Rinse and dry the tomatoes, then grate them into a bowl with the large holes of a box grater.
Season the tomato pulp with extra virgin olive oil and salt and toss to combine.
With a spoon, arrange the tomato mixture on the bread, drizzle with some tomato juices and olive oil, and sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt.
Pan con tomate and white beans
Add cannellini beans to turn pan con tomate into a wholesome and fulfilling meal.
Toss the beans with olive oil, basil, salt, and black pepper and arrange them on the tomato.
Tomato bruschetta is similar to pan con tomate, using the same ingredients.
In bruschetta, the tomatoes are chopped into dice and marinated in olive oil, salt, black pepper, basil, and crushed garlic before they are added to toasted bread.
Check out our tomato bruschetta recipe.
In Spain, pan con tomate is often served for breakfast.
Travel to Spain's Southern and Eastern Mediterranean coast, and you'll find it a delicious breakfast option in most hotels and cafes.
Appetizer or side dish
Tired of bruschetta? Try this pan con tomate instead. Serve it next to crostini with:
Make ahead: pan con tomate does not store well because the bread quickly becomes soggy. However, you can make the tomato mixture up to 2 days early but only put it on the bread shortly before eating.
Refrigerator: keep the tomato mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.
More tomato recipes
More appetizer ideas
Pan con Tomate (Spanish tomato bread)
- 4 slices crusty bread best if artisanal
- 2 vine tomatoes ripe
- extra virgin olive oil to taste
- sea salt to taste
- garlic rubbed on the bread, optional
- Cut the bread into slices. Optionally, you can toast it and rub it with garlic.
MODERN PAN CON TOMATE
- Grate the tomatoes with the large holes of a box grater.
- Season them with olive oil and salt.
- Arrange tomato mixture on bread and serve.
TRADITIONAL PAN CON TOMATE
- Cut the tomato in half and rub each half on a slice of bread until the tomato pulp is spread on the bread and you are left with the tomato peel.
- Season with olive oil and salt.