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Author Notes: Tomatoes are a summer staple, and, for the most part, the large heirlooms are different than but equally enjoyable to their runty cousins. However, I find that cherry tomatoes shine best either raw (like savory candy, pints of which can be wiped out in minutes) or very lightly cooked so they pop or explode in the mouth with a saucy goodness that a bigger sliced version simply lacks. Here is my favorite quick and easy version of the latter. This dish is a wonderful accompaniment to chicken, fish, or shrimp. —nishis
- 2 - 3 Zucchinis
- 1/2 - 1 pints cherry tomatoes
- 1 piece thick bacon sliced into lardons
- salt, pepper, lemon zest
- Start by slicing your zucchini into fat matchsticks (batonnet? http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/knifeskills/ig/Basic-Knife-Cuts---Shapes/Batonnet.htm) . By this I mean cut it lengthwise into slices which you then cut long ways into sticks and then finally chop your sticks about 2 inches long so you have this shape.
- Now heat your bacon in a large skillet to render the fat. When it is sufficiently sizzling and you have a nice layer of grease, remove your bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon.
- Toss your zucchini batons in the bacon fat. You want your skillet to be large enough that there isn't too much stacking and crowding (does not all need to be one layer, but you also want to avoid steaming). Once coated, sprinkle your zucchini with salt and pepper and let it sit for 3-5 minutes (patience!) until slightly browned before tossing it once or twice and letting it sit again. Continue until the zucchini is cooked through (slightly see-through, no longer crisp). If you notice water collecting in the pan, create a gap in the middle and allow it to evaporate before continuing your toss-wait-toss cooking process.
- Remove the zucchini to the serving dish where the bacon sits.
- In your still hot pan, add the whole cherry tomatoes. Again, let them sit, but this time only a minute or so until you see the skin start to wrinkle. Toss them once and then turn off the stove while letting the tomatoes sit in the pan.
- Now move your tomatoes to your serving dish with the zucchini and bacon. Add more salt, pepper, and the zest of 1/2 a lemon to taste.
- Note: To make vegetarian (or just to change it up), skip the bacon and start with 1-2 tbsp olive oil in which you will briefly toast a small handful of pine nuts, remove and then move to Step 3.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cherry Tomatoes