All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 



My Spanish Breakfast
Monday, May 31, 2021 @ 11:25 PM


For those of you who have been to Spain you've probably seen or tried this dish but for those of you who haven't, it's your lucky day, because tasty food doesn't get any easier. Well, more than a dish it is a fantastic “breakfast” alternative or a starter, side dish for a meal or even a main meal which can be accompanied with cheeses and salads.


Like all great dishes, simplicity rules and here is no exception. “Pan Catalana” or “pa amb tomàquet” as they would say in Catalan is pretty much part of the Catalan’s staple diet. 


This recipe is considered one of the best examples that define the Mediterranean diet and has spread all over Spain as a traditional recipe. 



The only ingredients you need are thick-sliced country bread, a clove of garlic, “GOOD” Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I personally prefer to use a very “green” fruity olive oil with fresh grass notes, such as that from the Hojiblanca variety or a blended Picual, “Venta del Varon” is ideal for this, as this dish relies on so few ingredients I like to be able to noticeably savour all of them in every bite! However, any good extra virgin will do. You will also need a little salt and Iberian bellota ham (Spanish cured acorn ham). 


It is a favourite with all my family and all the visitors that come to stay. Funnily enough, many end up eating so much of it before the main meal that they don’t make it to halfway through the main course let alone to the dessert! It is rather moreish, so be careful!


Naturally, as with all recipes that spread, every area of Spain prepares it in a slightly different way. For example in Majorca, Catalan Bread or “Tomato Bread” is prepared with tomatoes called Tomatiga de Ramillet, which is a specific variety of tomato on the vine, which is smaller and with a little bit more of an intense and bitter taste than normal tomatoes, it is also a tomato that has a longer maturing period, meaning a longer shelf life of up to several months. The important thing here is that the tomato should be very ripe, making it easier to rub the pulp onto the bread. The original base used to be and still is made (in Catalunya) with toasted slices of “pa de pages” ('peasants' bread'), a typical round piece of wheat bread of a fair size (from ½ kg to 5 kg, from some 20 cm to 50 cm in diameter) Nowadays many make a pre-mixture of grated tomato, olive oil and salt and then just spread it on to the toasted garlic bread and top it with a couple of slices of Iberian Bellota Ham, which is much easier if you are serving a large table and especially if you like a lot of tomato on your bread.


However, if the mixture is not pre-made, there is said to be an “ideal order” in which the ingredients are integrated to yield the best flavour. First, the garlic is rubbed on the bread. Then the same is done with the tomato. Next comes the salt, and lastly the olive oil. The traditional way to get all the flavours mixed well without having to pre-make a mixture is to cut off the heel of the loaf and use it to gently but firmly press all of the ingredients together.






So, how do I make it? I personally like a fair amount of tomato on my bread so I tend to grate a couple of mature ripe tomatoes into a bowl (cut the tomatoes along their horizontal axis, not vertically), I sometimes use plum tomatoes which work very well indeed. I thickly slice a country loaf of bread, one with a crunchy crust, about a thickly as the toaster will allow me to and toast them. I then grab a clove of garlic and cut the top off it and then without taking the skin off, rub the garlic over the toasted bread. I then change the “ideal order” and pour the extra virgin olive oil on next, as I find it tends to slide off the tomato if you put it on last, then I add a little salt, as it is easier to control how much salt you put on, without the tomato, then I spoon on the grated tomato pulp and spread it evenly over the bread. Finally, I top it with a couple of thin slices of Iberian Bellota Ham and that’s it. Done. Ready to eat and enjoy, with a glass of Ribera del Duero red wine or even a coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast. Fantastic!





Like 2


brianjackson said:
Tuesday, June 1, 2021 @ 6:12 AM

I loved reading this. I have had variations of this all over Spain. Presently I live just south of Cordoba in the Campo. I walk the dog every morning nd then retire to the local Chiringuito for breakfast. Cafe con leche, Media Tostada, con Tomate y Jamon. €2.50 ! Keeps me going until Tapas in the mid afternoon. The local young ladies stop off for one on the way to work, they tend to have a coffee each and share the rest. Its very very nice.

lenox said:
Saturday, June 5, 2021 @ 7:57 AM

Yep, I take a café con leche grande with a media con tomate for breakfast most days, my wife orders hers con jamón. It's a bit cheaper here outside Almería in the pueblo at around €2.20.

sdeleng said:
Saturday, June 5, 2021 @ 12:14 PM

Great read. So informative and complete.

anthomo16 said:
Saturday, June 5, 2021 @ 3:42 PM

a cortado double with this for breakfast is amazing I do add a bigt more garlic just love the stuff.

toolman2 said:
Thursday, June 17, 2021 @ 8:55 PM

My wife and I have been eating "Spanish Toast" as we call it ever since we first went to Spain together on holiday about 1988 and fell in love with this beautiful country. However, we do it a little differently. We pour extra virgin olive oil over the thick slice of bread, (both sides), and toast it in the frying pan. (You can have it as thick as you like then.) Once toasted then put your tomato on top. Here in England where we are stuck for the time being, we use tomato puree and then sliced tomato. Unfortunately British supermarkets do not stock the variety or quality of tomatoes as found in Spain. It is good enough though with good Spanish olive oil.

Leave a comment

You don't have to be registered to leave a comment but it's quicker and easier if you are (and you also can get notified by email when others comment on the post). Please Sign In or Register now.

Name *
Spam protection: 
Your comment * (HTML not allowed)
(Items marked * are required)


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x