Pan con tomate is one of the most typical and simple recipe, culinary technique or custom, that is mostly linked to the sign of Catalan identity.
The origins of this recipe can be traced back to bread with oil, the union of two key ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine inherited from its Greek legacy. However, tomatoes didn’t reach the kitchens on the Iberian Peninsula until the 18th century. Indeed, the first written record of this recipe dates from 1884, when two-day-old stale bread was spread with tomato to soften it and then drizzled generously with olive oil. Pan con tomate was part of everyday farmhouse cooking at a time when people had to find a thousand and one uses for left-overs and avoid throwing anything away.
Now we’re going to tell you how to make it in six easy steps. In this way you can have an easy Spanish and Catalan flair within your daily kitchen:
1. The bread. It’s true that you can make it with any type of bread, but if you’re looking for the original, most authentic and traditional, choose a rustic sourdough loaf called pan de payés. And…more importantly, it’s got to be toasted.
2. Salt. Sprinkle it on the bread, to taste, before the tomato. The salt will spread more easily as you rub the tomato over the slice of bread.
3. Tomato. It’s very important to use tomatoes on the vine or hanging tomatoes. The latter have lost their acidity and the water from the pulp and have a much more intense flavour. Cut the tomato in half across the middle and rub it on the bread. You’ll see that once you’ve finished you’ll be left with just the skin and the bread will be nice and moist.
4. Olive oil. The finishing touch. It has to be extra-virgin olive oil. You can choose the variety (arbequina, picual, picuda…) and intensity according to the flavours and foods you’re going to serve with the pan con tomate.
5. ¡Buen provecho! Don’t forget to say it!.