Pan con tomate is a mouthwatering yet deceptively simple Spanish dish that consists of bread rubbed with garlic and fresh tomato until the pulp and juice seep into the base. The result is a savory and refreshing bite that you can't help but keep going back to. Given its bare-bones components, pan con tomate is very easy to make at home as a humble snack or as an appetizer for guests. If you choose to do so, however, be sure to pick a sturdy type of bread for the job, lest you end up with a mushy mess.
Raw tomatoes are made up of over 90% water on average. That's a lot of moisture, especially for a naturally absorbent ingredient like bread. As such, good pan con tomate requires bread that can stand up to a heavy helping of tomato without becoming soggy. Pick a bread that is too soft and spongy and your dish risks losing all of its structural integrity. On the flip side, pick a sturdy bread with too much flavor and it will override the star of the show — the tomato. Such requirements make picking the perfect bread a bit of a challenge.
Which Breads Are Best?
If you're planning to serve pan con tomate, seek out a bread that is both hardy in structure and mild in flavor. Our recommendations include Italian ciabatta and French baguette. Not only do the crumbs of these types of bread hold up to moisture well, but they also have the benefit of commonly being sliced lengthwise, which leaves their crust almost entirely intact and adds another barrier to the bread collapsing.
If you don't have one of those options on hand, potato bread or rye bread can be adequate backups. Their dense, hearty texture can readily stand up to the watery tomato pulp, especially when toasted. It is worth noting, however, that they have a bolder flavor — particularly rye bread — which may compete with the tomato to some degree. In a pinch, though, they will still provide a tasty and supportive foundation for this delicious dish.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.