A faster, cooler, and cleaner way to cook eggplant -- in the microwave. It's also the best tasting one we tested. The flesh sort of crinkles up and the sweet flavors concentrate. It's soft but not flimsy; aggressively flavored but still tasting of itself. Recipe adapted slightly from The New York Times (July 8, 1992). Note: In today's high-powered microwave ovens, the plastic wrap might melt in spots, but the eggplant will still cook beautifully. If you're concerned about this, see here for information about choosing a microwave-safe brand. —Genius Recipes
tamari or soy sauce
loosely packed cilantro leaves
rice wine vinegar
toasted sesame oil
medium-size cloves garlic
fresh peeled ginger (a 1-by- 1/4-inch piece), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
Combine all ingredients, except eggplants, in a blender. Process until smooth.
Prick the eggplants several times with a fork and pull off the leaves. Cut in half
lengthwise. On the open side of each half, make three deep diagonal slashes in each direction. Place eggplants skin side down in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch microwave-safe oval dish.
Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons of the marinade over each eggplant half. Rub the marinade into the flesh so that it runs into the cuts. Turn eggplants skin side up. Pour remaining marinade into dish. Let stand for 45 minutes.
Turn eggplants skin side down. Cover tightly with lid or microwave plastic wrap. Cook at 100 percent power in a high-power oven for 10 minutes. Prick plastic to release steam.
Remove from microwave and uncover. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore.