Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Ultimate in Easy Starters - Pan con Tomate

Labor Day is almost here and even though we have a big bash planned, we are, as always, keeping things simple.  For our holiday weekend barbecue, we'll be serving up a traditional Spanish tapa to kick off our meal - Pan con Tomate. Pan con Tomate means bread with tomato, and that's really almost all there is to it. Extremely ripe tomatoes are grated into a pulp and put atop crusty slices of a toasted bread that have been liberally rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil. 

Grating the Tomatoes, Photo: NK
Basic though it may be, Pan con Tomate also happens to be insanely delicious - so much so that you really can't fathom just how good it it is until you try it for yourself. The tips below will help you to put this under-five-ingredient and absolutely to die for appetizer together with ease. 

To make a stellar Pan con Tomate, be sure to get yourself some really fantastic bread. I think that a large, round peasant loaf sliced about a 1/2 inch thick is the best bet because it toasts up very light and easy to bite while the crust maintains its crispiness. We like to use Eli's brand. 

Finally, the recipe hinges on having very ripe beefsteak tomatoes. Really any type of larger tomato will do, but beefsteaks have been especially flavorful this summer. A nice drizzle of good quality, fruity extra virgin olive oil is also important, as is a dusting of kosher salt. 

Pan con Tomate, Photo: NK
Serve up these toasty slices of garlic and tomato-ey goodness and watch as your guests gobble them up. It's hard to say just what makes these so good, but the fact that they are incredibly easy to makes them all the more wonderful. I hope you enjoy this dish as well as all the compliments it's sure to get you! 

Pan Con Tomate
Serves 4 
Recipe Courtesy of Saveur

1-2 very ripe tomatoes sliced in half (ideally beefsteak variety)
About 8 Slices of bread sliced 1/2 inch thick (ideally a round peasant loaf) 
Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
2 Cloves Garlic, each sliced in half
Kosher Salt 


Over a box or handheld grater set over a bowl, rub tomato halves until all the pulp is grated and only the skin remains. 

Lightly toast the slices of bread until crispy and slightly golden.

Rub the tops of each slice with a half clove of garlic. Press hard to be sure the garlic is transferred onto the entire surface of each slice (the crispiness of the bread will aid in the transfer). 

Next, drizzle slices with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Liberally spoon tomato pulp over toasts and sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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