Something wonderful happened to me the other day. I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself! I’d love to tell you the story, but let me first start at the beginning.

I’ve mentioned before that unfortunately I’ve yet to make it to any kind of farmer’s market this summer. With a busy schedule, constantly wedding planning or house hunting, I never could find the time.

One might wonder how going to the farmer’s market and the grocery store are any different. How could someone make it to the grocery store and not the market? They are in fact very different, at least in my eyes. It’s not somewhere that I can just pop in and out of- I like to take my time and make it an event. There are endless things to do and see; so if I’m going to the farmer’s market I must go out to breakfast, I have to try every sample, and I absolutely cannot leave until I have visited every single booth that’s around.

Since the summer is coming to an end, I thought that I’d missed my opportunity and was angry with myself that I didn’t make the time. So, image my happiness and surprise when Kevin and I stumbled across a small local farmer’s market in our neighborhood.

As we walked to our favorite bagel shop on Saturday morning, a new tradition, we started approaching what looked to be a sale of some sort outside the gourmet cheese and food shop next door. As we got closer I realized that it was actually a little farmer’s market. My eyes lit up like a little kid on Christmas morning. A farmer’s market in my neighborhood? Am I dreaming? This has to be a dream! How could a girl get so lucky? They had everything from fresh produce to pies and tapenades. Food heaven.

Unfortunately we only had ten dollars in cash, so even though I wanted to buy the whole place out, I had to ration our money and pick out what I really wanted. After perusing through every single item as I always do, I finally settled on some adorable baby eggplant and little San Marzano tomatoes – and this girl went home tremendously happy.

I wanted to maintain the shape of the eggplants since they were ridiculously tiny and cute, chopping up the little guys was not an option. I settled on simply grilling and creating a topping made with the San Marzano tomatoes we also snatched up that day.

I pondered making a Bruschetta type topping with only tomatoes and basil but was craving something a little bit heartier; the addition of turkey Italian sausage was a no brainer. I threw in some bread crumbs and olive oil to bind it all together. Delish.

This mixure is excellent with grilled eggplant but it would also be perfect stuffed in peppers, tossed with pasta and a little pasta water, or used as a topping for crostini. If you aren’t a big fan of eggplant you could definitely use zucchini or squash as a replacement.

Grilled Baby Eggplant withTurkeyItalian Sausage and Tomatoes

Serves 4

6 baby eggplants halved lengthwise

2 links turkey italian sausage

1 clove of garlic chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup small San Marzano tomatoes chopped (use plum tomatoes if not available) Should yield 2-3 San Marzano or plum

1/8 cup Italian style bread crumbs

2 tablespoons parsley chopped

Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Drizzle sliced eggplant with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant until cooked through about 10-15 minutesd depending on size. You can also use an indoor grill, but it may take a tad bit longer to cook. Brown sausage and garlic in medium sauté pan.  After it’s cooked through, add olive oil, tomatoes, bread crumbs, and 1 ½ tablespoons parsley until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange grilled baby eggplant on platter, spoon sausage mixture over. Garnish with remaining parsley.

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