Why You Should Start Microwaving Eggplant

For many of us, the first step to preparing eggplant — whether you're frying, baking, grilling, or sautéing it — is slicing it up and salting it to remove excess moisture. That's because the flesh of eggplant is spongy, and if you don't let it "sweat out" before you cook it, you could end up with a soggy mess on your hands. According to The Spruce Eats, some even do this process overnight because draining the eggplant for eight to 10 hours yields the best results.

But if you are anxious to get your eggplant parmesan or baked breaded eggplant on the table before your guests walk through the door, salting the cut side of the vegetable isn't ideal because it's time-consuming. Cook's Illustrated recommends that you wait 30 minutes after salting before you can even begin the draining and blotting step. Sure, you can expedite the process by placing heaving cans or pans on top of the salted slices to force the moisture out, but there's another way to prepare eggplant before cooking it, and it may come as a surprise to you.

Pre-cook your eggplant in the microwave

According to Cook's Illustrated, pre-cooking your eggplant in the microwave on a paper towel-lined plate is the preferred way to go. The microwave will heat the water in the eggplant which will ultimately steam it. And this will remove the moisture in a much quicker fashion than the salting and blotting method. Worried your eggplant will taste bitter if you don't salt it first? Don't be. These days, that overwhelming bitterness has been bred out of eggplants. Sure, you may catch a slight hint of it every now and then, but for the most part, it's not an issue. And if you don't have to salt eggplant to get rid of the bitterness, then all the more reason to microwave it first! You'll still get that creamy interior texture that makes your eggplant dishes so satisfying.

The Kitchn recommends placing your sliced eggplant in the microwave and cooking on high power for about five minutes. For larger eggplants, you may need to work in batches to avoid overcrowding.