My wife Renate and I have lived in Italy for two years now, but we still keep finding new veggies at the local farmers’ markets. Like these eggplants, which would be more appropriately named sausage plants! In Italy they’re called “melanzane perline”, or just “melanzane lungo.” These guys looked like much more fun than regular eggplants, so I bought a bunch to throw on the barbie. Remember – “Harald grills everything but his mom.”
When we grilled bacon-wrapped green asparagus, I pre-cooked the asparagus in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. So I thought why not do the same before wrapping the melanzane? Just for the heck of it, I wrapped and grilled not only the boiled ones but also a raw one.
I placed them on a stainless steel tray (so much more eco-friendly than aluminum) and grilled them over medium direct heat, about 4 minutes each side, until the bacon was crispy. Result: All were delish, but the boiled ones were a little too soft. Boiling is definitely a step you can skip when you grill melanze perline. Serve with a smoky-spicy barbecue sauce.
In fact, the pre-boiled ones were so soft that the one that I kept in the fridge for the next day could be squeezed like roasted garlic. It made a wonderful spread – like lard, just vegetarian! To make this not too guilt-free, I crumbled the grilled bacon on top of this tasty sandwich.
Keep your eyes peeled for this interesting, barbecue compatible eggplant variety. We’ll definitely have some plants in our yard next year.
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