Pan De Tomate

Pan de tomate, or tostada de tomate as they call it on the Costa Blanca, is a simple, healthy, yet delicious breakfast. It’s a perfect example of the Mediterranean diet – fresh, healthy food, simply prepared.

The Spanish don’t do big breakfasts – coffee and a pastry or tostada de tomate is about their limit. Lunch is the main meal of the day, and a serving of tostada de tomate will set you up for the morning without overloading the digestive system. When you buy your bread each day, buy an extra one – or two – for the next day’s tostada de tomate. The best choice is the stick, or ‘barra,’ as this can be halved lengthwise ready to toast.

To prepare the tomatoes, use a grater with a bowl underneath. Place the tomato, narrow end down, over the grater and grate away. The skin will peel back as you grate, and protect your fingers when you get to the last bit. Add a dash of olive oil and some black pepper. If you’re a garlic lover, grate a clove of garlic into the mixture but go easy – it is breakfast time, after all.

Lightly toast the bread, then use a cocktail stick or a fork to prick the surface. Now drizzle olive oil over the surface of the bread. Allow to soak in for a few seconds, then spread generously with the tomato mix – salsa, if you want to give it the Spanish name. Now cut the bread into pieces and serve. It’s that simple!

For variations on the standard tostada de tomate, srinkle with chopped fresh parsley, or top with sliced olives or raw mushrooms. Another idea is to top with a little grated cheese. Don’t completely cover the tomato mixture. Now brown the cheese under the grill and serve.

Tostada de tomate is often served in restaurants before the meal at lunchtime and in the evenings. The waiter will bring a basket of toasted bread, and  dishes of tomato salsa and ali oli (garlic mayonnaise) for you to enjoy while your meal is prepared. There’s no fast food in Spanish restaurants.

The Spanish don’t use butter on bread – they top their bread with olive oil, tomato salsa or ali oli. When you’ve tried this delicious dish, you’ll wonder why you ever thought butter was the best topping for bread and toast. Buen provecho, as they say in Spain.