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Eggplant with Spicy Meat Relish

Photo: Sarah Anne Ward
Active time 25 mins
Total time 35 mins

Serves 4 (serving size: 1 eggplant and about 3 tablespoons relish)

Thirty years in the future, the meat on this plate may well come from microlivestock—animals raised to leave less of an environmental “hoofprint,” such as goat, rabbit, guinea pig, or grasscutters (a large rodent in the porcupine family). This entrée puts plants at the center of the plate and moves meat to the role of condiment. A small amount of rich ground pork—made rich and flavorful with shallots, garlic, fish sauce, and chiles—becomes a relish that embellishes the eggplant. You can also use ground beef in place of pork; opt for a fattier grind, such as chuck.


  • 4 (3- to 4-oz.) Japanese or Italian eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 red Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Nutrition Information

  • calories 215
  • fat 16.2 g
  • satfat 3.6 g
  • monofat 10.1 g
  • polyfat 1.6 g
  • protein 7 g
  • carbohydrate 10 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • cholesterol 20 mg
  • iron 1 mg
  • sodium 256 mg
  • calcium 12 mg
  • sugars 6 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 1 g

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Cut each eggplant into 1/4-inch slices, cutting to, but not through, stem end. Gently fan eggplants and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush 1 tablespoon oil evenly over eggplants. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes; remove from oven. Press eggplants gently to fan slices; brush with 1 tablespoon oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until flesh is tender edges are slightly crisp.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add shallots and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add pork; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in sugar and fish sauce. Remove pan from heat; stir in chiles and basil.
Also appeared in: April, 2017;