Pan con tomate y ajo is one of our absolute favourite Spanish recipes. It is so easy, and takes just a couple of minutes to make. It’s great for a rapid lunch, a starter, or as tapas with guests. It is made with ingredients that most people will have in their house as they read this… so give it a go!
Before anyone start whingeing (there’s always one), yes we know that originally “pa amb tomàquet” comes from Catalunya. But this is Spain Buddy, not Catalan Buddy. We use the Castellano translations for things wherever possible – not Catalan, Euskaldunak, Gallego, Occitan or Valenciano. This is because the vast majority of people living in Spain use Castellano as a first or second language.
This recipe is super simple and super fast – especially if you use method 2, because you can prepare the tomato and garlic mix ahead of time. I just do it freshly though – it really is a speedy dish to make. It’s one of the few that is faster to make than it is to eat and enjoy!
If your home is anything like ours, we are often left with half a baguette from the day befrore… and because we hate waste so much… using that for pan con tomate y ajo is a great and flavourful way to get around that.
Pan con tomate y ajo: ingredients for 2 people
- 6 to 8 slices of Day old bread – about 3/4 inch thick. I use ciabatta (yes I know that’s Italian!!) or a baguette (yes I know that’s French!!) – but any kind of bread will do.
- A peeled garlic clove – whole.
- 1 tomato – halved widthways.
- A good glug of olive.
- The obligatory glass of dry white wine to wash it down with.
- Pop the olive oil into a large heavy based frying pan and place onto a medium/high heat.
- Add the bread to the pan.
- When the underside of the bread is golden, turn it over. This should take no longer than 1 minute total – depending how hot your oil is.
- Remove the bread from the pan.
- Rub the surface of the bread slices with the garlic clove.
- Rub the surface of the bread with the tomato.
- Drink the wine.
- Enjoy your pan con tomate y ajo!
- Grate the tomato into a bowl using the coarse side of a box grater.
- Follow steps 1 to 5 of method 1.
- Spoon the grated tomato over the bread.
- Follow steps 7 and 8 of method 1.
Spain Buddy tips
- It may take a little trial and error until you get the temperature of the oil just right. Do go careful not to burn the edges of the bread – it’s easily done if you’re not paying attention and the oil is too hot. Likewise, if the oil isn’t hot enough, it will soak into the bread too much and your final dish will be too greasy.
- Got a French stick left over from the day before? Slice it lengthways and use that instead of slices.
- If you really are averse to frying – swap the pan stage for a hot oven. Pop your slices of bread into a medium/hot oven for 6 or 7 minutes or until toasted.
- Simply toasting your bread in a toaster won’t work – the middle of the bread slices will be too soft and will collapse as soon as you start rubbing it with garlic. But!!! If you mince your garlic into your tomato mix instead – then you can happily spoon it all over.
- Top your completed pan con tomate y ajo with thinly sliced jamon. It’s fantastic!
- I like to add a slight sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper to the final dish. In fact, the pepper mill is never out of reach in our kitchen. It’s used almost as much as garlic and salt, if not more.
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Spain Web Design by Gandy-Draper.
Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.