The Greatest Tools

The Kitchen hosts share new and innovative ways to use three classic kitchen tools—the cast-iron skillet, the fish spatula, and the rasp grater. Learn how to teach old tools new, exciting tricks!

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Tool 1: Cast-Iron Skillet

Cast-iron skillets are a staple in every kitchen, but they can be used for more than just baking, frying and sautéing! Alex Guarnaschelli says why she loves the cast-iron pan, then shows us a new use for it: turn it into a stovetop warmer to gently warm food without scorching it. Alex shows us how to simply place the cast-iron pan over low heat, then places another heatproof dish with mashed potatoes inside. The potatoes will stay warm without burning! The cast iron acts as a barrier and heats the food indirectly. It’s perfect for leftovers, casseroles or mashed potatoes! This is a great trick if you’re tight on oven space and for potluck parties. It's versatile and essential—go out and get yourself a cast-iron skillet!

Bonus tip: if you find a cast-iron pan at a secondhand or thrift store, grab it! Pans made before 1957 have a smoother nonstick quality to them than ones made today, and are lighter in weight. The lighter they are, the better the quality.

Tool 2: Fish Spatula

Fish spatulas are beloved by professional and home cooks alike. They’re great for flipping foods easily, but they can do so much more! Katie Lee Biegel says why she loves the kitchen staple, then shows us a new use for it: it’s great tool for crushing tomatoes for sauces and stews, and it’s also fantastic for breaking up ground meat while browning it. The narrow slots work like a mini potato masher, making it easy to break up and smash food.

Bonus: you can get right- and left-handed fish spatulas. Go out and grab yourself one as soon as you can!

Tool 3: The Rasp

The rasp is a go-to kitchen utensil in every home. While it’s typically used to zest citrus and grate hard cheeses or whole spices, it’s got other hidden talents, too. Jeff Mauro says why he loves this tool, then shows us a new use for it: grate freeze-dried berries to turn a dessert plate into a work of art! Jeff uses the rasp to grate freeze-dried strawberries over a slice of cheesecake, leaving a pretty pink dusting and tasty flavor addition.

Bonus tip: Jeff shows us how he uses Katie’s fish spatula as a stencil to grate an artistic design on the plate, then continues dusting the cheesecake itself for the perfect finishing touch. Get yourself a rasp, pronto!

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