Pan con tomate (“bread with tomato”) is an easy Spanish tapas recipe! It’s quite possibly the best way to use a ripe tomato…period.
Got a ripe summer tomato? Here’s quite possibly one of the best ways to use it…in the world. Try Pan Con Tomate, a Spanish tapas recipe with only a few ingredients but immeasurably massive flavor. Take one bite and it’s like ingesting the pure soul of a tomato: all its memories of growing plump in the summer sun. This transcendental summer tomato recipe will make you a quick convert.
What is pan con tomate?
Pan con tomate translates to “bread with tomato,” a Spanish dish that consists of toasted bread topped with tomato pulp, garlic and olive oil. It’s served throughout Spain as tapas or a snack, and it’s especially common in Catalan cuisine where it’s called Pa amb tomàquet.
I fell in love with pan con tomate when I lived in Madrid in university, then again when Alex and I visited Spain recently. Many tapas-style restaurants have popped up in the US since then that have imported the concept. It’s important to honor the heritage of this incredible dish: Spanish cuisine, which has also brought us iconic dishes like paella, sangria, gazpacho, and more.
Ingredients for pan con tomate
Pan con tomate is one summer’s best concepts: this Spanish recipe uses just 5 ingredients with no real cooking involved! It’s best for when you’ve got a big, juicy summer tomato. One bite, and you’ll be happy dancing with the explosive flavors! Here’s what you’ll need:
Grill or broil the bread
The bread for pan con tomate can be grilled or toasted in the broiler. Either way, spread the bread slices with a bit of olive oil and salt before cooking it. Here are the pros and cons to each method:
Grilled bread: Grilled bread is very traditional and adds a charred flavor. This is best flavor-wise, but it does take time to preheat the grill.
Broiled bread: Broiled bread doesn’t have a charred flavor, but it’s quick and easy in the broiler! Broiling gets it nice and crispy, with dark edges.
Grate the tomatoes
How to get that beautiful tomato essence in pan con tomate? You’ll grate the tomatoes. Yes, grab a box grater and use the large holes to grate the tomato into a bowl. You’ll feel like you’re destroying it! But take one taste of the pulp, and it will make your tastebuds sing! Season it with a few pinches of kosher salt.
Rub the bread with garlic
The other key to pan con tomate is seasoning the bread with garlic. Unlike a bruschetta where you mince the garlic, with this Spanish tapas recipe you’ll rub the garlic right onto the toast.
Peel the garlic and slice it in half.
Take the cut side and rub it right onto the bread. You won’t see anything on the bread, and it will feel like you haven’t done anything. But one taste and you’ll see that it’s infused with the intoxicating aroma of fresh garlic!
Make pan con tomate right before serving
Take one bite of pan con tomate, and it’s absolute magic: the crunch of the bread, the juicy tomato pulp, and the golden rich drizzle of olive oil. In fact, you’ll want to eat it every day. But here’s the thing: the tomatoes do make the bread soggy over time. So it’s best to eat this treat right away!
If you’re serving this as a tapas appetizer at a party, try to avoid letting it sit out on a table for hours. Pass it around or have people enjoy it right as it comes out of the kitchen. If you want to make it in advance, here’s what to do:
Grate the tomatoes and refrigerate the pulp. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
Toast the bread and assemble right before serving. You’ll want to keep that bread deliciously crunchy!
More Spanish recipes
If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll know we love studying traditional Spanish recipes. Here are a few of our favorites to make at home:
Grill or broil the bread: Cut bread into 1/2-inch slices cut on the bias. Place the slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil onto each slice, followed by a sprinkle of kosher salt. Grill the bread or broil it on high until the bread until toasted and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. (As a quicker method, you can use a toaster.)
Grate the tomato: Meanwhile, use the large holes of a box grater to grate the tomatoes into a bowl, discarding the skins (you will get about 1 cup pup). Season the grated tomatoes with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste.
Serve: When the bread is done, rub each piece of bread with the cut side of the garlic (this will infuse a large amount of garlic flavor into the toast). Spoon the tomato pulp onto each slice. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately. The bread becomes soggy after a few minutes, so top with the tomatoes directly before serving.
Here’s how to make a traditional Spanish tortilla! Tortilla española is a potato and egg omelette that is a classic dinner or tapas recipe. Here’s a traditional Spanish recipe that’s everywhere in country: Spanish tortilla! Tortilla española is a Spanish omelet made with eggs and sliced potatoes. You can find tortilla in almost every bar and restaurant. It’s a classic Spanish tapas recipe, sliced into wedges and often serve with a toothpick and a dab of aioli. It’s also often turned into a sandwich filling as a bocadillo de tortilla. When I lived in Spain years ago, I loved sampling each restaurant’s house version of tortilla. So we’re thrilled to bring you this recipe from the beautiful new cookbook Diala’s Kitchen by our pal Diala Canelo. Love Spanish recipes? Try our red sangria, classic paella, and patatas bravas. What is Spanish tortilla made of? The Spanish tortilla is an iconic dish known as Spanish omelete, tortilla española, or tortilla de papatas. It’s made by frying potatoes in olive oil, then cooking them into an egg omelette. Spaniards eat it for any meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and it’s one of the most popular Spanish tapas. In fact, it might be more […]
Here’s how to make a traditional Spanish tortilla! Tortilla española is a potato and egg omelette that is a classic dinner or tapas recipe.
Here’s a traditional Spanish recipe that’s everywhere in country: Spanish tortilla! Tortilla española is a Spanish omelet made with eggs and sliced potatoes. You can find tortilla in almost every bar and restaurant. It’s a classic Spanish tapas recipe, sliced into wedges and often serve with a toothpick and a dab of aioli. It’s also often turned into a sandwich filling as a bocadillo de tortilla. When I lived in Spain years ago, I loved sampling each restaurant’s house version of tortilla. So we’re thrilled to bring you this recipe from the beautiful new cookbook Diala’s Kitchen by our pal Diala Canelo.
The Spanish tortilla is an iconic dish known as Spanish omelete, tortilla española, or tortilla de papatas. It’s made by frying potatoes in olive oil, then cooking them into an egg omelette. Spaniards eat it for any meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and it’s one of the most popular Spanish tapas. In fact, it might be more prevalent than the national rice dish, paella! Make it correctly and you’ll have a perfectly salted, thick pieces of omelette layered with buttery fried potatoes.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make a Spanish tortilla:
Yukon gold potatoes: Use only Yukon Gold potatoes or another waxy potato like red potatoes. Do not use starchy potatoes like russet potatoes, as the texture is more mealy than buttery.
Olive oil and salt: This recipe calls for quite a bit of extra virgin olive oil and salt, but most are discarded as part of the frying process.
Eggs: The egg ties it all together! Use cage free organic eggs where possible.
Mayonnaise, for serving: If you’re not Spanish, this might seem odd. But a slather of mayo or more traditionally aioli, is the perfect sauce for the final flavor.
How to make Spanish tortilla, aka tortilla española
This is the traditional way to make Spanish tortilla, so it’s going to take a little time. Set aside 1 hour for this task! It’s not a quick and easy dinner recipe: view it as a fun project to experience Spanish culture. The nice thing is that you can easily make it ahead, and let it rest until mealtime or refrigerate leftovers for later (see below). Here are a few tips to know about how to make tortilla española:
Use a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan. This size of pan gets the nice thick tortilla with potato layers. You can also use a 12-inch skillet; it makes a thinner tortilla. Watch the cook time as it can vary.
Thinly slice potatoes and fry them, then add onion. Fry the potatoes for about 10 minutes, until tender and golden. Add the chopped onion in the last 5 minutes.
Add beaten eggs and cook until browned on the bottom but slightly runny on top. Watch the heat level! You don’t want it too high or the bottom will burn. Check occasionally with a spatula. Be careful if you have a large burner: keep it on medium low heat.
If you sense it’s going to burn, broil! Here’s a troubleshooting tip. If you sense the bottom is going to burn before the top is mostly set, remove it from the stove and broil the top until it’s slightly runny. This will make it easier to flip.
Flip and cook the other side. Place the cutting board on top and then flip the tortilla right onto it. Cook the other side until set (about 5 minutes). Then invert it onto a cutting board again, so the top side is up.
Eat it cold, room temperature, or warm
Can you eat Spanish tortilla cold? One of the great things about tortilla española is that you can eat it cold, room temperature or warm. That makes it incredibly versatile. Eat it warm for dinner or brunch as a main dish. Serve it room temperature or cold sliced into wedges or squares as a Spanish tapas recipe. Really anything goes!
You can leave Spanish tortilla out on the counter at room temperature for up to 2 hours before serving, making it easy to make up in advance. In Spain, people leave it out even longer: they’re much more liberal with leaving things on the counter than we are here in America (and I never had any adverse effects!).
How long will a Spanish tortilla keep?
How long does Spanish tortilla last? 3 days. You can serve tortilla española at a variety of temperatures, so it’s easy to serve as leftovers or make in advance. Here are some notes:
Keep it 2 to 3 hours at room temperature before serving. You can leave it for longer if desired (see notes above).
Refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can serve it cold, or let it stand and come to room temperature.
Reheat Spanish tortilla in a 300 degree oven for a few minutes if you’d like to serve it warm.
What to eat with Spanish tortilla
There are many ways to eat Spanish tortilla, depending on what meal of the day it is. Spainards traditionally eat tortilla española any time of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner or tapas. Here are some ideas:
Sandwich: Make a bocadillo de tortilla: serve it room temperature between two pieces of baguette slathered with mayonnaise.
Tapas: Cut it into wedges or squares and eat with toothpicks. Serve it in a spread with marinaded olives, marcona almonds, Manchego cheese, and jamón serrano (the Spanish version of prosciutto).
About the book: Diala’s Kitchen
This recipe comes to you straight from the new cookbook Diala’s Kitchen, written by the lovely Diala Canelo. Diala is an incredible recipe developer and food photographer (you must follow her on Instagram). She is Dominican and now lives in Toronto, and loves to travel. One of the things we love about her book is that her food style is so similar to ours: fresh, plant-forward meals with occasional beautiful seafood, too. We literally want to make every recipe in the book: Falafel Salad, Salmon Burgers, Green Goddess Soup, Baked Feta, Truffle Pasta, Shrimp Stew with Coconut-Tomato Sauce, Caramelized Banana and Cinnamon Loaf, Pumpkin Scones…the list goes on!
One special thing about this Spanish tortilla recipe is that Diala and I connected over a deep love for Barcelona. I studied abroad in Madrid and while I adore that city, my heart was stolen by beautiful Barca. Alex and I visited Barcelona in 2018 with our son Larson and I got to share all my favorite food memories with them. Diala recently visited Barcelona this year, and growing up Dominican, her culture was heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine. So we are absolutely thrilled to share her recipe for traditional tortilla española. Congratulations Diala, on an incredible book! We can’t wait to cook through it more.
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided**
1 medium white onion
Peel and slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch slices (a mandoline is handy if you have it, but not required).
Place the potatoes in a large colander set over a large bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the salt and toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels. While the potatoes sit, dice the onion.
In a 10-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet***, heat 1 1/2 cups of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Place the potatoes in the hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and tender, 10 to 14 minutes.
Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and onion to a large bowl. In another large bowl, beat the eggs. Then transfer the potatoes and onion into the eggs. Drain the oil from the pan and wipe it clean.
In the same pan, brush it with olive oil if it is a cast-iron skillet. Then heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium low heat. Pour the potato and onion mixture into the pan and using a spatula, spread it out evenly and smooth the top. Cook on medium low heat until the tortilla is golden on the bottom and almost set, about 10 to 12 minutes. It should still be slightly runny on top. (If it’s getting dark on the bottom and the top is still very runny, transfer it to a broiler and broil until the top is mostly set but still slightly runny.)
Invert the tortilla onto a large plate. Slide the tortilla back into the frying pan, browned side up. Cook until golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes.
Invert the tortilla again onto a cutting board. It’s best after sitting for 15 minutes to allow it to set, or you can let it sit up to 2 hours at room temperature before serving. Serve topped with chopped parsley and cut into wedges. For best flavor, top the wedges with dab of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of paprika.
Make ahead and storage: Leftovers save very well and can be served cold, room temperature or warm. Refrigerate up to 3 days. If desired, reheat in a 300 degree oven until warm, but it’s great at room temp. You can also make it into a tortilla sandwich (bocadillo de tortilla): eat it room temperature between two slices of baguette slathered with mayo.
Biarritz had been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. In my 20s, working the office grind in London and going for days without seeing any discernible sunshine in winter, I dreamt of buying a van and moving there to surf the endless waves and drink Ricard (pastis) around a beach bonfire. Instead I stayed in my safe job and…
Biarritz had been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. In my 20s, working the office grind in London and going for days without seeing any discernible sunshine in winter, I dreamt of buying a van and moving there to surf the endless waves and drink Ricard (pastis) around a beach bonfire. Instead I stayed in my safe job and displayed the surfboard my friend left behind our sofa in the living room (being Australian by birth, it is a shame that I cannot actually surf).
When I finally got around to visiting the ship had well and truly sailed on the camper-van fantasy, however it was still very easy to embrace the surf town vibe that Biarritz offers. Built on the Atlantic coast with a view to the Pyrénées, in the French Basque countryside, it is around 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the border with Spain. There’s a vibrant food scene and the town is a mix of high-low with luxurious boutiques (there is a Hermès boutique just behind the seafront) and chic homeware stores next to surf rental outlets and oyster shacks.