Eggplant with Spicy Meat 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.
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 450° F.
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.
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