A delicious side dish when tomatoes are in season.
1-1/2 pounds tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 slices bacon
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Place chopped tomatoes in a large colander to drain for 10 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl and add the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, basil and brown sugar. Mix well and set aside. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until fat is rendered but bacon is not too crisp; remove and set aside. Add butter to the pan drippings and add the onion, green pepper, celery and garlic; sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Crumble the cooked bacon and add to the skillet along with the tomatoes; mix well and warm through. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Transfer tomato mixture to the prepared baking dish; sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Combine crushed crackers and melted butter and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly and crumbs are browned. Casserole will generate some additional liquid so use a slotted spoon to serve as a side dish, or scoop on toast baguette slices for an appetizer.