This Catalan Tomato Bread recipe is easy to make with just 5 ingredients and always tastes so fresh and delicious!
Ever since we moved to Barcelona, I’ve been getting lots and lots of requests for some authentic tapas recipes here on the blog. So this week, I’m excited to finally share two of my faves with you! Specifically, two of my Catalan faves, beginning with probably the most famous tapa in all of Catalonia…
…tomato bread. ♡
Or as its called in Catalan, pa amb tomàquet. Or in Spanish, pan con tomate.
If you ever come to Barcelona, be prepared to eat your weight in tomato bread because it is served absolutely everywhere here. Whenever we go out for tapas, it’s pretty much always the first dish brought out to the table. Whenever we eat at our Catalan friends’ houses, there is always a basket of fresh tomatoes and garlic served alongside the bread (never butter!). Whenever our friends from the States come to visit and want to learn an authentic Catalan recipe to bring home with them, we tell them they’ve gotta start with tomato bread. And I’ve even gotta say that — after a lifetime of reaching for bread with our butter — both Barclay and I have come to prefer this crispy Catalan tomato bread instead.
It’s made with just five easy ingredients — toasted bread, raw garlic, fresh tomatoes, olive oil and sea salt — and it always just tastes so light and fresh and flavorful. And now that fresh tomato season is rolling back around, it’s the perfect time to give it a try!
So grab some good-quality bread and let’s toast up a batch together. I’m certain you’re going to love it!
Catalan Tomato Bread Ingredients:
To make Catalan tomato bread, you will need the following ingredients:
Bread: In Catalonia, it is traditional to use cocabread (pictured above), which is kind of like a flat baguette that is then halved, sliced and toasted. But really, any type of bread will do for tomato bread. It’s just important that you toast the bread well so that it is nice and crispy on top, which will help the bread to “grate” the garlic.
Garlic: It’s traditional to serve tomato bread with large, whole, unpeeled garlic cloves that are sliced in half. This allows you to still get a good grip on the cloves without letting the raw garlic touch your fingers.
Tomatoes: Whatever tomatoes are most ripe and juicy!
Olive oil: Good-quality extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling.
Sea salt: It’s typical to serve tomato bread with a normal sea salt grinder. But I really like to use flaky sea salt for a little extra texture and crunch.
How To Make Tomato Bread:
So here’s the fun of tomato bread — you can either prepare it yourself before a meal or (much more fun) serve it DIY-style at the table! Often in Catalonia, restaurants will just bring you a board with all of the five ingredients laid out and then everyone passes it around to prepare a slice or two for themselves. But if you would prefer to prepare it in advance, I just advise waiting until the very last minute to add the tomatoes, since the bread can tend to get soggy if it sits out for too long.
Here’s how to make tomato bread (full instructions in the recipe below):
Toast the bread: As mentioned above, it’s important that the bread be nice and crispy for the tomatoes and garlic to “grate” well on top of it. So slice the bread nice and thin. Then pop it in the toaster (or you can do a big batch in the oven) until it is nice and toasty and golden.
Rub the garlic. Next, slice an unpeeled garlic clove in half. Then rub the clove all over the surface of the bread. I love the flavor of raw garlic on this bread, so I tend to add a lot here. But heads up — raw garlic is spicy! So if you’re not a big fan of garlic, I suggest going light on this step to begin.
Rub the tomato. Next, slice a juicy ripe tomato in half. Then rub the tomato (cut side down) all over the surface of the bread, being sure to squeeze out lots of the rind.
Drizzle the oil. Next, add a quick drizzle of good-quality olive oil to the top of the bread.
Sprinkle with salt. However much you prefer, to taste.
And…serve. Right away! Tomato bread can go soggy quickly. So serve it up ideally while they bread is still warm and crispy right out of the toaster. And enjoy!!
What To Serve With Tomato Bread:
This bread would be a delicious side dish with all sorts of meals. But we especially love serving it with:
Ah, Barcelona. How I’d love to go someday! I love tomatoes and anything tomato-flavoured though, so this recipe should be good!
Mmmmm. We had a version in Pamplona. I look forward to trying this one!
We hope you love it, Kristin! :)
Looks delicious! I made your slow-cooker curried lentils last night for the third time. I’m going to make this to go with the leftovers later. Thanks for all the tasty food!
Love this!! I could seriously live in Barcelona.
Ahhh, us too! :)
Fantastic, easy recipe! Have a ton of fresh tomatoes to use up, and this recipe was a great way to assist with that. Delicious! I’ll be making this again.
In culinary arts school, a chef from Malta, Italy showed us a similar recipe. It was their regional version of bruschetta. It was basically the same. Grilled bread rubbed with garlic and tomatoes. The best snack. Thanks for reminding me!
Very cool! We hope you enjoy this! :)
This makes me so happy. I lived in Spain for a time and this is such a throwback. Best meal ever! Thanks for sharing, Ali! :)
Yes, we’re so glad you’re a fan as well! :)
I am still sick of tomatoes from our cruise last year, but even so, this bread sounds wonderful. What I want to know is, where in Barcelona did you get good paella? We had some at a Turkish restaurant on La Rambla that made wonderful falafel, but bombed with the paella. (We did find excellent paella in Cádiz, though). We’ll be in Barcelona in late April and would love to find some good paella there. I’m glad you had such a good time there and that the city did not disappoint. IMO it’s a wonderful city.
LOVE Spain and especially Barcelona. Another best snack food is tortilla de patatas. :) I am so happy eating it room temp w rubbed bread. Heaven. https://smittenkitchen.com/2007/09/tortilla-de-patatas/
Wow – this looks so yummy. x
Absolutely loved Barcelona !! Yummy Bread !!
Love your post today! I felt in love too with Barcelona the FOOD, the people, the city is just an amazing place to visit. This pan and tomato is the perfect dish to summarize one of the distinct flavors of Barcelona. Thank you for sharing and my mouth is just watering looking at your pictures.
Thank you for your sweet words, Carlos — we hope you enjoy the recipe!
Cool! I’ve never heard of this before. Pinning it now =)
We hope you enjoy it!
Such a simple meal! I loved Barcelona too – it’s so beautiful! Glad you soaked it all in :)
You wanna enjoy the world’s best food? Go to Spain, vamos!
Can’t wait for your Barcelona recommendations! Heading there on our honeymoon in a few months :)
oh this is so funny and interesting! I’m Polish who lives is Barcelona (for a second time) and while I do feel great here the food…well the food mostly make me sad. It’s not about flavors – those are ok but quality of available products (like bread which is uneatable after one day, dry pastries which taste like nothing ) and some weird phobia of veggies that most Spaniards I know seem to have :) Weird because there’s plenty of awesome fruits and veggies here in great prices. I guess it’s a different thing when you come only for a short time but also maybe I’m completely spoiled hihihi.
Btw love your blog – I’m a long time reader but not much of comments writer ups. congratulation on your engagement!
Thanks for your sweet words, Monika — we’re so glad to hear you enjoy the blog! :)
Thanks for a delicious recipe! It provided me dinner for several nights in a row, I couldn’t get enough. Please see the review on my blog: https://bulachki.com/recipe/tomato-rubbed-bread/
Easy and good!!! I love toast!
We’re happy you liked it, Ammy!
Question…if I were to squeeze out the pulp from the tomatoes into a bowl and add pasted garlic and olive oil and stir to make almost like a tomato garlic jam to serve with the toasted bread….would that in any way come close to this delicious looking appetizer. For home life I’d love to serve this way bc my kids don’t care what they smell like (?) but guests might not want garlic fingers…
This is indeed a great bread although I have not made it in a long time. But when living in Puerto Rico as a young girl, my Asturian maternal grandfather had many Catalonian friends. They used to get together and share huge amounts of beer and this bread. My simple lazy version is still one of my favorites, and I call it “bread salad”. Slice French type bread into 1″ cubes, toss in olive oil, crushed garlic, then salt generously. Toast in high oven turning often. Remove & while hot toss with a bit more of the olive oil-garlic mixture, then immediately dump the bread on top of bowls of crushed canned tomatoes at room temperature. The results are immediate and unexpected pleasure. Best eaten after a late night partying.
This looks divine! Going to definitely make this once I can get some good tomatoes!
One of my favorite things to eat in Spain. It just doesn’t taste the same here. But I’ll try again this summer!
My dad is from Barcelona and we eat this all the time! One of my favorites. I studied abroad in Barcelona for a time and my aunt would use this not just for tapas but as part of an easy weeknight meal with embutido, manchego, and a tortilla de patatas!
Looks like the post is missing the part about what to serve with the bread (I just see a title), which was exactly my question. I would love some ideas!
This is one of our faves from Spain too! We like to grill the bread on the barbecue for extra flavor.
This looks great, will make when tomatoes are ripe in my garden. When I was in Barcelona a couple years ago, I had the best white bean salad, any recipes for that?
I lived off of this as a kid. A garden full of tomatoes and lots of bread!
Another thing about the pan con tomate is that it is made with the thinnest skinned tomatoes available. Modern varieties tend to be thicker skinned. I too used to live in Barcelona.
I just tried this with a piece of toast. So delicious, but gets soggy quickly. Thank you for a delicious appetizer that is healthy, fun, and delicious.
great dish, thank you for sharing this, haven’t ever been to your part of Spain so never experienced this and wouldn’t have otherwise
This looks great! I think it’s missing the suggestions on “What to Serve With Tomato Bread”… I definitely would want to see the ideas!
Fantastic! Kids loved it. Will definitely make it again.
A staple in Italy too…called Bruschetta! Don’t know who invented it first, but my guess would be Italy!
I took your ingredients and idea and modified it slightly. When I sliced my bread, I found it had large air holes that would make topping it difficult, so I had to improvise. I drizzled some olive oil on the bread and put it in the oven to toast. Then I grabbed my tomatoes and box grater. I used the medium side and grated my tomatoes into a bowl. Fun fact, the tomato skin didn’t grate, so I had a built in hand protector, and I didn’t need to worry about it ending up in my tomato liquid. I then stirred in some salt and pepper. When my bread was toasted, I rubbed it with garlic and put the bread on a plate. Then I used my tomato innards as a dip. Insanely delicious. I have found a new summer staple.
Thanks for posting this deliciousness! Each person made their own at table.
So simple, yet so delicious!
Ahhhhhh. In Barcelona tomato bread was always served with Iberian ham! It was my favorite appetizer
Hi Ali, my name is Montserrat. Born in Spain in the town of La Bisbal in the province of Gerona.
My mom used the Montserrat tomato to stuff with all kinds of things. They became the delicacy for my two daughters, every summer when we spent 4 weeks with my parents. I cannot find in California any grower that carries such beautiful, succulent tomato. I am 83 years old and grow tomatoes every year,……Any ideas for me, by the way your website is scrumptious!
S0 glad I found this recipe. My wife and I were discussing the great tomato bread we had in Barcelona and I decided to look for a recipe. We use sourdough bread and our homegrown tomatoes.
I had the ultimate luck of living and working in Barcelona for six months some years ago. I fell in love with the place!!! I’d eat pan con tomate everyday, because, as you say, just about every restaurant serves it while one awaits the main course. So, as I loved it so much, I tried making it dozens of times, but it never comes out anywhere near as good as it was in Barcelona. I put it down to the tomatoes being different in ther countries. But I’ll certainly try your recipe as it sounds simply delicious. Thanks for sharing-
Just back from Barcelona with my 20 year old son and 16 year old daughter. Both foodies! We ate this everywhere! I thought I’d make this tonight so just looked up how and your page popped up. So excited that you live there and to try your other Catalan recipes!