Spring will always be my favorite season, but when it comes to fresh produce and mouth-watering meals, summer surpasses spring by a mile.  I spend all winter dreaming of sun-ripened tomatoes fresh off the vine, even as I attempt to stomach their mealy, cardboard-like counterparts in the meantime.  The first home-grown cucumber, cherry tomato, and green bean are like tiny miracles, delicious proofs of all that work of planting, weeding, and watering.  In a few weeks, I will probably never want to eat another cherry tomato as long as I live, but for now I’m reveling in the bounty of summer.

If you’ve ever grown a zucchini, you’ve probably prepared it in some way similar to this.  I don’t want anyone to miss out, though, so here’s my recipe.  Plus, a friend recently introduced me to the genius idea of adding bacon to the pan.  Yum.  The ingredient list is just a starting point; feel free to add or subtract whatever vegetables you have on hand.  Summer squash works in place of zucchini, or you can use both.  My dad often slices tomatoes and tosses them in.  Bell peppers would work, too.  You can also change up the seasonings–basil and oregano (fresh or dried) add an Italian touch; a dash of garlic powder or seasoned salt is also delicious.

Use the smallest zucchini you can find.  Zucchini has the habit of growing into terrifying monsters the second you look away, but the smaller ones are more tender–seeds, skin, and all.  If you’re trying to use up a giant zucchini, however, just cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out and discard the seeds, and then slice it.  You may want to peel it, too, if the skin is tough.

Sautéed Zucchini with Bacon
Time:  20 minutes
Serves 2-3 as a side dish

2-3 T. olive oil
1 small zucchini, skin on, thinly sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)
1/2 onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
Other thinly sliced vegetables as desired (sweet peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, etc.)
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add vegetables and bacon; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook about five minutes, without stirring, until some of the vegetables begin to brown.  Continue to cook an additional five minutes, still covered, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and cook about five more minutes, until zucchini and onion are very tender and any liquid has evaporated.

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