Pan Con Tomate (Bread with Tomato)

Pan Con Tomate, or bread with tomato, originated in northern Spain as a quick snack or tapas. It is incredibly delicious and I’ve officially voted this my favorite summer dish! I can’t think of a better way to showcase my husband’s brilliant summer gems. Pan con Tomate requires only four ingredients but each one should be the best you can find. A great loaf of crusty, whole grain bread, garden-fresh or in-season ripe tomatoes, a really good extra-virgin olive oil and fresh garlic. Finish with a sprinkle of kosher salt (flakey sea salt if you have it). How these simple ingredients transform into such an intense explosion of flavor is magical!

I fried fresh rosemary and sage in olive oil to crumble on top for an extra zing of flavor. Adding “extras” takes you away from the traditional Pan Con Tomate and more toward the tomato toast category but you could top it with feta, fresh mozzarella or Parmesan cheese or even an anchovy or two.

Pan Con Tomate


1 loaf, crusty, whole grain bread

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

2 garlic cloves, cut in half crosswise

2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut in half but not through the stem

Kosher salt or flakey sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Optional extras: chopped fresh herbs like rosemary, oregano, basil


  1. Cut bread into 1/2 inch slices. Cut larger slices in half if necessary. For the quickest way to toast the bread is to simply toast it in a toaster. You won’t need to brush the bread with olive oil and will only use the olive oil to drizzle on top at the end. Or you can grill the bread in a skillet. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Heat over medium/high heat until olive oil begins to shimmer. Add as many slices of bread that will fit in the pan. Toast on one side for 2-3 minutes then flip and toast the other side for a few more minutes. Repeat this process in about 3 batches.
  2. Once the bread is toasted, rub one side of the toast with the cut side of the garlic clove. Sprinkle toast with a little bit of salt.
  3. Using 1/2 of a tomato, squeeze and rub the tomato all over the toast, allowing the juice and the flesh of the tomato to cover the toast. Alternately, you can chop the tomato into a mound of juicy, fleshy tomato and add it to the top of the toast.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and top with a sprinkle of salt.
  5. If you are using fresh herbs, sprinkle on top.

Note: For the herbs, I love them fried. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan over medium/high heat. Heat the oil then add the herbs (I use rosemary and sage) cook for about 2 minutes or until they begin to brown. Don’t let them burn. Remove the herbs from the pan and place them on a paper towel.

To make this a more substantial meal, serve with Parmesan, fresh mozzarella or feta cheese and anchovy fillets. I would also serve it with a garden salad.