Sauteed Zucchini with Fresh Tomatoes

Most of the specialty and heirloom tomatoes we grow are best eaten raw.  Their juices have a rich umami flavor that can range from intensely sweet to fairly acidic, but which is generally destroyed by cooking for more than a few minutes.  Also lost are the beautiful, varied colors that heat usually converts into dark brown through caramelization.

But that doesn’t mean you should only eat specialty tomatoes in salads.  There are any number of cooked dishes you can make where the tomatoes are added either just before cooking is done, or afterwards.  Bland vegetables like zucchini will soak up the tomato flavors instantly, and release them with every bite — especially if you salt it before cooking to reduce some of the water content.

Peel and slice onion to make 1 C.

Peel 1 clove of garlic, or more if you like.

Slice 3-4 zucchini in strips about 2 inches long and a quarter inch thick.  Place in a colander and sprinkle with 1/2 T. salt, then toss with your fingers to coat.  Allow to sit for ten minutes.  Squeeze gently to remove some of the water.

Core and dice 2-3 ripe tomatoes and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle with a little salt and toss.

Heat 2 T. olive oil in a cast iron skillet and saute the onion until it begins to brown.  Add the zucchini as well as 1/2 T. fresh thyme or 1/2 t. dried thyme.  Cook for 5 minutes, then use a garlic press to press the garlic and add to the pan.  Cook another 2-3 minutes, until the zucchini is tender on the inside but still slightly crunchy.

Turn off the heat and add the tomatoes to the pan.  Stir to combine and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes.

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