Pan con Tomate

Tomatoes galore! Once again, one of one lovely neighbours, Angel , has come up trumps and given us the most delicious , sun ripened , just-picked, scarlet tomatoes from his plot in the campo. To me, there is something special about Spanish tomatoes that makes them like no other, and they are an integral and important part of the Mediterranean , and most definitely the Spanish diet, and indeed culture.

Spain is a prolific grower and consumer, they even have a festival devoted to the tomato in Valencia , called the Tomatina; ( basically a huge tomato street fight!).

If one thinks of Spanish food, images of colourful Gazpacho and Salmorejo are conjured up, and there is nothing better than a fresh tomato and onion, or tomato and white bean salad topped with glugs of olive oil. Recipes making the most of local and seasonal produce.

 I always like to think that the colours of the Spanish flag -red and yellow,( although legend says they represent the blood spilt during bull-fighting, or the coat of arms of King Ferdinand 11), reflect the colours of this wonderful fruit ,and the hot Spanish sun.

Here is a very traditional Spanish recipe using tomatoes , that you must try. It is literally `bread with tomato`. It is one of the most popular dishes here for breakfast, or tapas; and the secret of its success , apart from being really delicious, is probably because it is so simple, with easy and accessible ingredients.

Pan con Tomate

Cut your bread ( a baguette , ciabatta or similar),and toast it , before rubbing with garlic  (optional) and drizzling with good extra virgin olive oil. Then mash or grate fresh, ripe tomatoes and spoon onto the bread. Add black pepper, sea salt and a tad more olive oil. It`s as simple as that. You can of course add jamon or avocado or basil, but the Spanish ( and us) like it just as it is. Perfecto.

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