In praise of the microwave

Avid home cooks eagerly embrace the latest technology: think sous vide, air fryers, and Instant Pots. You can’t swing a stick on Facebook without running into a group posting recipes for one of those popular appliances. What you don’t see, however, are groups singing the praises of the humble microwave, which is often dismissed by serious cooks. That’s too bad, says Food & Wine, which makes the case for why your microwave can be an essential kitchen appliance.

The microwave is still seen as a device for those who are incapable of preparing themselves a better meal or are solely on the hunt for convenience, a crutch for those who can’t or don’t want to cook. But chefs and other culinary pros know otherwise.┬áThere are many applications for which a microwave is perfectly suited, such as melting chocolate or toasting nuts. Some studies have shown that vegetables cooked in the microwave retain more vitamins and minerals than when boiled or steamed.

The article provides several tips for maximizing the benefits of this under-appreciated appliance, and a few recipes as well. I am going to try the browned butter technique – I’ve scorched the butter on the cooktop in a moment of inattention so I’m hoping this will be more foolproof. There is also the ubiquitous recipe for mug cake included, a must for those times when the urge for chocolate cannot be ignored.

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