Pan Tumaca, also known as Spanish Tomato Bread, is a popular tapas dish you’ll find in many local restaurants. It’s made of toasted bread with juicy tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. It’s quick to make and can be topped with lots of ingredients like ham.
What is Pan Tumaca?
Pan Tumaca is a traditional Spanish dish consisting of toasted bread rubbed with garlic and ripe tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt. Sometimes it is topped with Spanish Serrano or Iberian ham.
Tumaca is deceptively simple: toasted bread rubbed with garlic and ripe tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and sometimes topped with ham.
It originates from Catalonia and is sometimes topped with Spanish ham, such as jamón serrano or jamón ibérico.
You’ll often find it in Spanish breakfasts and tapas menus. Its simple nature captures the fresh flavors of Mediterranean cuisines, but it also requires good quality ingredients to get it right.
Pan Tumaca vs Bruschetta
Although both are based on fresh Mediterranean ingredients that focus on serving tomatoes on bread, there are some differences.
Bruschetta is Italian in origin whereas Pan Tumaca is Spanish. The main difference in the recipe is that Bruschetta uses more toppings than Pan Tumaca.
The most well-known variety of Bruschetta uses a mixture of tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil and red onion on top of crostini or small pieces of crusty bread.
Pan Tumaca, on the other hand, is a Spanish dish that is even simpler, rubbing the garlic and tomato over the bread.
- Catalonia: The Catalan version, known as “Pa amb tomàquet”, is perhaps the most traditional. It is almost the ‘base’ recipe. The bread is toasted, rubbed with garlic and tomato, and then drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Andalusia: In southern Spain, the dish is often served with jamón Serrano or jamón ibérico.
- Madrid: Sherry vinegar is added to the tomato before it is spread on the bread.
- Basque: Pan Tumaca is used as a base for pintxos or pinchos, where the food is spiked with a cocktail stick or skewer to hold it in place. Anchovies or cheese are often added on top in this variation.
You only need a few ingredients to make Pan Tumaca, so the quality of them is more important.
- Bread: a crusty, rustic bread like ciabatta or sourdough (what we’ve used in this recipe) toasted are some of the best. Day old bread works well too. Essentially, you need a bread that when cut, can keep it’s shape and hold up when lots of olive oil and tomato juice is added on top of it.
- Tomatoes: You’ll need about 1/2 Roma tomato for every slice of bread like sourdough. Choose the freshest, ripest tomatoes for the best flavor.
- Garlic: You may see garlic added directly to the tomato, but I think keeping the flavors a little more separate and rubbing the garlic straight onto the bread instead is better. It’s a little like sandpaper, leaving a thin layer of flavor during the rubbing. 1 large garlic clove should do.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Since the olive oil is one of the only few tastes within this recipe, you’ll want to be sure to choose the best quality.
- Salt: Sea salt or kosher salt gives some of the best flavor.
- Spanish Serrano or Iberian ham (optional): Ham is used within the Andalusia variation of pan tumaca, but the traditional Catalonian version goes without. It does add a nice salty touch.
How to Make Pan Tumaca
Perfect for a tapas, side dish or appetizer, you can make this in less than 10 minutes.
Step 1: Toast the bread in the oven or a toaster until crispy and golden. Slice the bread into 1-inch thick slices.
Step 2: Peel a garlic clove and cut it in half. Once the bread is toasted, while it’s still hot, rub one side of each slice with the cut side of the garlic.
Step 3: Grate the tomato into a bowl using the coarse side of a grater.
Step 4: Drizzle the olive oil onto the bread slices, season with salt to taste, then spread the tomato mixture onto the bread.
Step 5 (optional): If you’re using Jamón ibérico or serrano, drape a slice or two over each piece of bread.
Since it’s a very easy recipe, you can’t go too wrong with it! However, here are some things to consider to make it as tasty as possible:
- Cut the bread thick: Make sure to slice at least an inch thick so that the base is a bit sturdier and can hold the oil and tomato juices.
- Keep seasoning simple: Garlic and salt are all you need for the seasoning. You can also top with extras for different tastes (check the regional variations for ideas), but you don’t need anything else.
- Serve quickly: You’ll want to leave flavors and juices a little while to absorb into the bread, but not so long that the bread becomes soggy. A few minutes is normally sufficient.
The traditional version of this tomato bread is served simply with garlic, salt, olive oil and salt. However, there are plenty of toppings you can throw in for some extra flavor.
Some great toppings include Spanish serrano ham (like this recipe), olives, cheese, aioli (Mediterranean garlic dip), anchovies and more!
More Spanish Dishes
- Spanish Pisto (Spanish Vegetable Stew)
- Ensalada Rusa (Spanish Potato Salad)
- Tarta de Santiago (Spanish Almond Cake)
- Sopa de Ajo (Spanish Garlic Bread Soup)
- 9 slices of sourdough, cut into 1-inch thick slices
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 1 garlic cloves, halved
- Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
- Salt, to taste
- Some thin slices of Spanish Serrano or Iberian ham, optional
- Prepare the Bread: Toast the bread in the oven or a toaster until crispy and golden. Slice the bread into 1-inch thick slices.
- Rub the Garlic: If you're using garlic, peel a garlic clove and cut it in half. Once the bread is toasted, while it's still hot, rub one side of each slice with the cut side of the garlic.
- Grate the Tomatoes: Grate the tomato into a bowl using the coarse side of a grater.
- Drizzle the Olive Oil: Drizzle the EVOO onto the bread slices, season with salt to taste, then spread the tomato mixture onto the bread.
- Add Extras: If you're using Jamón ibérico or serrano, drape a slice or two over each piece of bread. If you have particular toppings like anchovies, olives or cheese, add them now.
- Serve: Serve within a few minutes to ensure the bread doesn't become soggy.
Amount Per Serving Calories 249Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 21mgSodium 830mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 2gSugar 5gProtein 14g
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