One of the best things to come out of Spain is this simple snack – PAN CON TOMATE. Similar to the Italian bruschetta, Pan Con Tomate (pronounced PAN-CON-TOE-MAH-TEH) is a very popular appetizer and snack in Spain. You can order and find it in all bars, cafeterias, restaurants and even the local McDonald’s across the country.
Elena, the kids Spanish tutor we hired to teach them Spanish took us to a local “bar” (the bars in Spain are not like the ones in the US/UK and are more like cafes that also serve alcohol and are kid-friendly) where she ordered this for the kids to try. It was perfect since it fit nicely into our world-schooling (click link to learn more about it) lecture for the week which was about tomatoes.
At first, the kids were not excited at all about our lunch choice especially when they saw the cakes that were displayed on the counter. “Toast and tomatoes Mom?!! Come on! Who eats that for lunch?!” said Jaf. “Everyone here in Spain Jaf”, I replied with wide eyes and an embarrassing stare.
Lou Lou was the first to make and try it, but since she’s not a big fan of bread I believe she lasted only 3 bites. Jaf though, hesitated at first because Lou Lou wouldn’t finish hers. But after careful prodding by Elena got through his first piece.
Pan Con Tomate is best served and made fresh by grating a large tomato then adding a little grated garlic, pinch of salt and as much virgin olive oil you desire (choosing the best quality olive oil will make or break this simple snack so don’t choose a cheap brand or an old olive oil that has been sitting on your shelf for months). Then cut, toast and butter a nice (preferably crusty) piece of bread. Put it together and Viola! That’s it…
Since that fateful day, he’s been eating and requesting to eat Pan Con Tomate for breakfast almost every morning. So I invested in a good traveling grater.