Updated: Mar 6
Pan con tomat, which means bread with tomato, is a traditional Spanish tapas, made to highlight flavorful tomatoes and built for the hot summers. Whenever I make this dish, I remember sitting in the street cafes in Madrid around 6:00 PM with a cold beer, pan con tomat, some Iberico ham, and sautéed pardon peppers, it is a good life!
This recipe has lots, and lots, of variations, with sliced tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, herbs, and so on, but my version I delicate and accentuated with the accompaniments. This is a recipe where you need to taste the purée. The purée is a delicate balance of flavours, sweet, and a touch herbed. This is a super simple recipe but there are a few tricks. Allow the purée to sit so the flavours come together, otherwise, they taste disjointed. Use the best tomatoes you can buy, no stinging here, this is all about flavorful tomatoes. Organic, heirloom tomatoes are best for their flavours, but any good naturally ripened tomato will do fine. Finally, use a good Manchego cheese, preferably Spanish, or any hard goat's milk cheese. You need the bite and salt in the cheese to offset the sweet purée. Finally, I love anchovies in this dish, they are salty and complement the sauce well. Iberico ham is also perfect as a side for these.
For more of my own wonderful recipes click here. Photo by Nisha Bilgrami, what a beautiful perspective.
1/2 lb tomatoes, best of the season
1 garlic clove
2-3 basil leaves
Manchego or any hard goats cheese, sliced
Oil-cured anchovies (optional)
Add the tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and salt to a small blender and purée to a smooth mix. Taste and adjust salt as needed. The mix should be sweet with the tomatoes, a touch of herb from the basil. Adjust as needed. Allow the tomato to sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours for the flavours to come together.
Serve in a bowl surrounded by sliced baguettes, fresh basil leaves, anchovies and sliced Manchego cheese. Your guests can enjoy these in any combination they desire.