Pan tomate, pan tumaca, pan tumac…the name changes depending on who you’re talking to and where you happen to be. Locals in Costa Brava can tell exactly where you hail from by which you use. But one constant factor across Catalonia is that whatever restaurant you happen to visit, the chances are you’re going to be faced with a mountain of this crusty bread topped with a tomato, garlic and olive oil spread.
Pan tomate (I’ll stick with the Costa Brava version) is generally regarded as a breakfast dish although in reality it’s served pretty much at any time of the day throughout Costa Brava and Catalonia. In some hotels, like the Hotel & Spa Terraza in Roses, you´ll find a bowl of tomatoes, garlic bulbs, olive oil and salt beside the bread section at the breakfast buffet.
How to Make Pan Tomate
This little breakfast buffet collection gives a clue as to how easy it is to make pan tomate. First you rub the garlic (cut it in half first) over one side of a slice of bread. Cut the tomato in half and rub it over the same side of the bread until the bread turns attractively rosé coloured, then drizzle some olive oil and lightly season with salt. Hey presto you’ve got pan tomate. To raise the taste up a notch, drape a slice of serrano ham (also supplied in some hotel buffets) across the bread. It’s a simple and winning combo and perfect when you want to knock together a rapido lunch.
At this point I’m going to stray from tradition and share my version (everyone has their own) which probably breaks all sorts of Catalonian laws about how to make pan tomate.
Buzz Trips Pan Tomate Recipe
Put three cherry tomatoes in a bowl with a quarter of a medium onion and a garlic clove and blend to a thick, chunky paste. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and mix in. Lightly toast one side of a slice of crusty bread and top with the thick tomato and garlic mixture. Finish off with a slice of Serrano ham. If you want to be really adventurous and make pan tomate with some ass-kicking attitude simply add a chopped chilli to the tomato and garlic mixture before blending.