Step 1: Making the Pan con Tomate
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, such as beefsteak or a juicy Heirloom, cut in half horizontally
- 1 baguette, or ciabatta bread, sliced in half horizontally lengthwise
- 2 to 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
- 1 larger clove of garlic, cut in half
- 1/2 tsp (or to taste) flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel
To make this appetizer, simply cut the bread in half lengthwise and remove the insides. In this case, a baguette is typically used. Next, squeeze and rub the juice and tomato pulp from the cut halves all over the bread. Drizzle with quality olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cut on the bias, place on a platter, and serve.
Alternatively, the bread can be toasted first and then rubbed with garlic and topped with a tomato purée. In this case, a hearty bread such as ciabatta is a good choice as it has some bigger holes to capture the tomato pulp.
For this method, using the large holes of a box grater, place it over a large bowl and then grate the insides from the tomato — keeping your hand flat so you don’t cut yourself. Once you reach the skin of the tomato, stop. Discard the skin or save it for making stock. Next, season the tomato pulp with a bit of salt.
Next, preheat the broiler to high — making sure the rack is not too close to the top — it should be about 4"-inches away from the broiler.
While the broiler heats up, cut the bread into pieces, either bigger or smaller pieces are fine, it’s really up to you. Drizzle each piece of bread with a bit of olive oil and season with just a touch of salt. Place the bread onto a tray and place under the broiler, cut side up. Cook the bread for 2 to 3 minutes, or just until they start to crisp up and get a few nice char pieces around the edges.
Once the bread is ready, remove it from the oven and carefully rub each piece with the split garlic. This is why we say “larger” cloves as they are just easier to grab. A little bit of the raw garlic goes a long way, so don’t go too crazy here.
Lastly, spoon some of the tomato mixture over each piece of bread and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and season with a bit of the finishing salt. Serve immediately.
These pan con tomate goes well with a variety of other tapas (small plates). Here are just a few other tapas recipes that we have for you to try as well.
Tortilla de Patata (Spanish Omelet)
Braised Spinach & Chickpea
Smoky Spanish Almonds
Charred Roasted Red Peppers
Charred Shisito/Padrón Peppers