The pan con tomate that we make here in our Spanish home in Guadalajara, and which is found in bars and restaurants all over Spain, is based on an old tradition in Cataluña. Originally known as ¨pa amb tomaquet¨, the Catalonian tradition was to take stale bread and rub it with raw garlic and wedges of tomato, then drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it lightly with salt. It is a delicious way to take advantage of day-old bread. It continues to be prepared this way all over Cataluna and many places in Spain.
The first time I tried this delicious tapa was on a beach in Calafell, Tarragona in Cataluña, with my friend Marta who had invited me to stay with her family for a week. My first night there, as the sun set, we prepared the tostas together with family and friends to accompany a beautiful barbecue of grilled sardines, chorizo, zucchini and peppers. I was in heaven. It was just the beginning of a memorable visit with warm conversations over one fresh, healthy, beautifully prepared meal after another.
My husband and I now make pan con tomate by blending raw tomatoes, olive oil, salt and, if desired, a half clove of garlic in the blender. I prefer to drizzle more oil on the bread first and follow with a generous amount of tomato mixture and just a bit of salt. This is my son’s favorite breakfast whenever he comes to visit. He adds a thin slice of jamon serrano (or even better iberico) on top and enjoys it with his coffee. Whenever my parents would arrive from the States for a visit I would have it ready along with freshly squeezed orange juice. So simple but everyone’s favorite.
The tostas are not only nice for breakfast but can be prepared as tapas before lunch or dinner, or can stand alone as a simple late dinner or cena. The possibilities are endless with tostas con tomate, as you can top them with healthy combinations of smoked salmon, anchovies, sardines, tuna, eggplant, avocado, manchego or blue cheese or whatever sounds good to you.