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Cooking Tips

You Should Be Microwaving Eggplant

Zapping eggplant dramatically reduces salting time and helps it brown better.        
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Published Mar. 16, 2023.

If you love eggplant as much as I do, you know it has the potential to be sumptuously plush and silky and even richly browned—but that it can take some time and effort to get it that way. 

The raw flesh is as watery and porous as a wet sponge and typically requires a good 30 minutes of salting, followed by thorough blotting, to rid it of excess moisture and collapse its puffy air pockets. Even then, the eggplant might not be dry enough to brown nicely when it’s sautéed, stir-fried, or shallow-fried.

We’ve got a much faster, less fussy, more effective way to achieve those results: salting and microwaving the eggplant.

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Why Microwave Eggplant

Salting and then microwaving eggplant helps it dehydrate a bit and compress much faster and more thoroughly than it does when it’s simply salted and blotted dry. The salt pulls out liquid from inside the eggplant at the same time the microwave causes it to steam, making it shed liquid faster than either method alone. To keep the eggplant from poaching in the liquid it sheds, we spread it in an even layer on a double layer of coffee filters.

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How to Microwave Eggplant

Here’s our favorite method:

  1. Cut into ½-inch chunks: Depending on what you’re making, you can peel the eggplant or leave it unpeeled.  
  2. Toss with salt: We use 1 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal kosher salt per large (1¼ to 1½ pounds) eggplant.  
  3. Line large plate with coffee filters: Use a double layer of coffee filters so that there’s enough material to absorb the shed moisture. Coat the filters with nonstick spray to prevent the eggplant from sticking. 
  4. Spread eggplant in single layer: This ensures that the eggplant cooks evenly. 
  5. Microwave on high power: Zap it uncovered until it’s dry to the touch and slightly shriveled, which takes about 10 minutes.
  6. Toss halfway through cooking: This ensures that the eggplant cooks evenly.

This technique is great for all sorts of preparations, from pastas and stews to relishes and salads

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