Cool Tools: Microplane


Every so often, I’ll recommend a tool that you should think about adding to your kitchen gadget repertoire.  Having the right tool for the right job makes a huge difference and will make your time in the kitchen more fun and a lot more efficient.

Today, I’d like to talk about the Microplane.  Sometimes, this is referred to as a zester, microplane grater or even a rasp – but no matter what you call it, it’s a wonderful tool to have.  Here are four uses as examples:

Grating Fresh Ginger:  Ginger root is knobby and fibrous and can be kind of difficult to maneuver and chop with a knife.  Most recipes will call for ginger to be finely minced – and a microplane is the best way to achieve that (see photo above).  I don’t even bother to peel it.  Just rub vigorously and in no time, you have enough for whatever recipe you’re creating.  Tip:  What to do with your leftover ginger root?  Wrap it in plastic wrap securely and put in your freezer.  It will last a long time there – and is easy to grate when frozen).

Grating Fresh Nutmeg:  You can find whole nutmeg in the spice aisle of your supermarket.  It makes a big difference over already grated nutmeg.  Add it to your favorite pumpkin or apple pie recipe – or into a white (béchamel) sauce.  It will add a zip that will dazzle.

Zesting Lemons:  You probably already know this:  There is more lemony flavor in the peel of a lemon than in the juice.  If you have a recipe that calls for lemon zest, use your microplane to easily remove it from the lemon.  Be sure to not go too far and remove the white pith that lies under the yellow as that’s bitter.  Tip:  Zest directly over whatever you plan to add your zest to – as you grate, you’ll also release the lemon’s essential oils – which will boost the lemony goodness in whatever you’re making!

Grating Hard Cheeses:  There is nothing better than a hunk of good parmesan cheese.  It can be expensive for sure – but wow it’s so good!  Parmesan cheese has a nuttiness that is unmistakable and will be great over salads, in soups and sauces.  The microplane is a great way to grate it into a fine powder which will melt beautifully.

So, there you have it – four easy and helpful uses for your Microplane.  You can find them pretty much everywhere in stores and online.  Be sure to get one with a handle – and plan to spend somewhere between $9 and $15.

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A great day for me is preparing great meals for friends and family. I enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and also updating classics that I've enjoyed for years. I love to travel and try lots of new cuisines - and wouldn't be anything without the love of my family!

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