Sunday Breakfast: Pan con Tomate

I spent three months in Spain in 2009, a post-redundancy treat. And one of the things I love most about Spain is the fact that breakfast, like early evening drinks, like the nightly stroll, like life, is public not private. Everyone seems to have breakfast out in Spain; a quick cafe con leche, or manchada, a tostada con tomate or con mantequilla, and plenty of chat and noise. I sometimes think noise is as essential as salt to Spanish eating habits. It’s not a country, like Britain, of ‘quiet drinks’ or a quick one; no, this is a place that wants pleasure to be loud, shared and on the street.

And I love it. Especially the eating breakfast out thing. I was taking Spanish lessons and in the mid-morning my classmate Maia and I would dash out to the nearest cafe, a place called Bar Aixa, for a coffee and a pan con tomate. She’d always have an entero (a whole toasted roll) with tomato and jamon, and I’d always have a medio (half a roll) with just tomato. It’s one of my favourite breakfasts and, since I’m not there and there is no equivalent to Aixa in North London, or not that I’ve found, I thought I’d try recreating it.

There are tons of recipes on the web, and most of them suggest rubbing half a tomato on the toast. But in Aixa the toast wasn’t just coloured red, but had what looked like tomato jam spread across the bread. So I went for this recipe in Saveur. Not only does the picture look just right, but grating the tomato creates the exact effect I was after: a sort of savoury spread. It had none of the noise but all of the flavour of Aixa; a sunny breakfast to cheer up a not-so-sunny London.

Pan con Tomate

Pan con tomate ingredients

[serves 1]

A) a slice of good bread (it needs to be baguette, or cut from a loaf, not ready-sliced)

B) 1 medium-sized tomato (depending on the size you may have some ‘jam’ left over … maybe enough for another slice)

C) 1/2 clove garlic, peeled

D) good olive oil

1) Grate the tomato, on the biggest holes of a grater, into a bowl.

2) Toast the bread.

3) Rub the cut side of the garlic on one side of the toasted bread.

4) Spoon some of the grated tomato onto the toast. Season with salt and olive oil to taste.

Pan con tomate

This entry was posted in Breakfast, Spanish food, Sunday Breakfast and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sunday Breakfast: Pan con Tomate

  1. Anne says:

    Oh, I am always SO SO SO happy to find you. This template is beautiful, but I just finished a HUGE dinner, so cupcakes etc., look yummy but for another time. This, however, looks like something I want to try NOW! You’re such a good photographer. Lovely.

    Miss you heaps. Send you love!!

  2. Gail says:

    The problem is that the tomatoes used for toasted bread with tomato in Granada, are unique to Spain: wrinkled and unattractive by modern standards, they and they alone yield up that not sweet, but never sour intense tomatoe-y flavour. I’ll never forget hearing the question the first time, (translated here) “with olive oil, tomato, or tomato and garlic?” I thought, “I must be in heaven”.

  3. Pingback: Breakfast in Holland: the uitsmijter | Chop, Stir, Grate

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