Of all the food we tasted in Spain, I was most excited to try my hand at pan de tomate. And not just because it calls for only five ingredients found in almost every kitchen and is nearly fool-proof. It is one of those bites you take that instantly calms you. The simplicity needs no translation – we all know the feeling and we all relate it to different foods, generally food from our childhood. It’s no wonder that pan de tomate has been a Spanish staple for years. The bread acts as a sponge, soaking up the olive oil and tomato juice while the underlying flavor of garlic plays with your taste-buds. A final shower of salt brings out the flavors of these four humble but irreplaceable foodstuffs. I can’t think of a better accompaniment to any meal this summer or otherwise. So throw a few slices of bread on the grill and transport yourself to a dinner table table Spain-side. It will be delicious!
Five ingredients – thats it! Any bread will do but I really like ciabatta. The airy interior is filled with bubbles and nooks, perfect for catching pools of olive oil and tomato pulp. Cut two slices from a loaf of ciabatta bread. Drizzle one tbs of olive oil over the cut side of each slice and place them, cut side down, on a grill pan, set to medium-high heat. Toast for three to four minutes until the bread is crisp and grill-marks have formed.
Remove the bread from the pan and set aside. Cut one clove of garlic in half, horizontally. Rub the garlic over the bread. The warmth left from the grill will melt the garlic just so, allowing the oils to soak into the bread. Next, slice the end off of a ripe tomato. Rub the tomato directly on the bread, squeezing gently to help release the juices. Sprinkle remaining one tbs of olive oil over the top and shower both slices with kosher salt. That’s it! The crunchy surface of the bread will breakthrough at first bite, releasing little bursts of tomatoey-oil. Not a bad spin for the standard bread basket! Spain, we thank you!
Makes Two Slices
- two slices ciabatta bread, cut in half
- two tbs olive oil, divided
- one garlic clove, sliced horizontally
- one tomato, end sliced off
- kosher salt