My Microplane Can Do the Job of Four Kitchen Tools
This underrated tool saves me from doing extra dishes on weeknights.
Test Kitchen Pick: Food Network Kitchen staffers share the kitchen tools they can't live without — both at work and at home — plus, their tips and tricks for using them like a pro.
When I first moved to New York City five years ago, I quickly learned the challenges that come with living in a tiny, studio apartment. The coffee table becomes the dinner table (don’t even ask about a dining room), the oven is really extra shelving for sheet pans and baking dishes, and all dishes are washed by hand because lower cabinets take up prime dishwasher real-estate. Because of this, every dish I make at home must meet three requirements: few ingredients, minimal equipment and ready in 45 minutes or less. In order to make this happen night after night, there are some kitchen tools that I couldn’t live without, including my Microplane Rasp Grater.
A Microplane Rasp Grater (or Microplane, for short) is most commonly used for finely zesting citrus. While I love using it for lemons and limes, I find it equally as useful for grating fresh aromatics like ginger and garlic (eliminating a chef’s knife altogether), and for dried spices like nutmeg and cinnamon (who has a spice grinder anyway?). Hard cheeses are also ideal, because the fine, fluffy shreds melt perfectly into sauces and vinaigrettes, unlike the large shreds from a box grater. Even bars of chocolate run smoothly over the Microplane, making it easy to top drinks and desserts without pulling out a vegetable peeler.
By simply using a Microplane for any of these tasks, I eliminate the dreadful cleaning of a chef’s knife, spice grinder, box grater and vegetable peeler all in one. Told you this is an underrated tool.
The name brand Microplane is made of high-quality stainless steel. The ergonomic handle also makes it easy to hold over a bowl or cutting board, and the nonslip end gives additional stability. Microplane makes a variety of models, including versions with a dishwasher-safe handle, as well as a Master Series with stylish wooden handles that are perfect for displaying in your utensil crock.
Plus, my Microplane is super-easy to clean. Just soak it in warm, soapy water for a couple minutes, then run under fresh water until clean. If you need some extra help removing fibrous materials, like ginger, use a firm sponge and wipe in the same direction as the teeth (no shredded sponges in sight!). Wipe dry with a kitchen towel, again in the same direction, and you’re good to go!
I’m in good company in the Microplane fan club. With more than 2000 reviews and a 4.5/5-star rating on Amazon, the Microplane Rasp Grater is a must-have for your kitchen. While it’s not the cheapest piece of equipment, it’s totally worth the money and will last through years of cooking adventures.
Amanda Neal is a chef and food writer living in New York City. She works professionally as the Recipe Tester for Food Network Magazine, and is responsible for evaluating recipes for accuracy, taste, and consumer and brand suitability. She attended the University of Kentucky, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both English and Communications, then graduated from the International Culinary Center’s Classic Culinary Arts Program with Farm-to-Table Concentration. If she’s not in the kitchen, she’s spending quality time with her Boston Terrier Roxie.