With so many kitchen tools available these days, it’s often confusing about what to use when (not to mention why, what, and how). It seems as if there’s a tool for everything (hint: there is). With zero spare drawer space, we try to stick to these essentials—those that can be used over and over again. Well, we’ve got a new essential to add to the list: the microplane. The Plated chefs are very into it. Whether grating garlic, topping your fave pasta with a pile of Parmesan, or looking for a hit of citrus, the microplane is your guy. Here, some of the best ways to use it, whether cooking Plated dinners or simply experimenting in the kitchen.
If you’re looking to add some extra citrus to a dish, zest will do the trick. Microplanes give a modest shave, avoiding the bitter pith (the white layer between just above the fruit). Use lemon and lime zest for cooking (think pasta, pan sauce, vinaigrettes), and orange or lemon for baking. Add a touch of orange zest to your pound cake with whipped cream, and you’ll be happy.
Sure, you can buy pre-shredded coconut, but you also can shred it yourself! Once you have cracked the shell, grate away with a microplane, and follow your favorite recipe to dry. Then, enjoy in smoothie bowls, oatmeal, or even granola.
If you’ve ever tried to chop or mince ginger, you may have gotten a bit frustrated, as the fibers make it a bit tricky. Queue up the microplane! Just peel the skin, and grate the ginger along the microplane, and you’ve got yourself an irresistible (and fresh) ginger paste, which will add a kick to whatever you’re cooking up.
You say you need some freshly ground cinnamon or nutmeg? No problem. Instead of breaking out the store-bought, or even a mortar and pestle, grab your microplane and grate the spice over a prep bowl. Fresh, and smells soooooo good.
Have you ever been the not-so-lucky recipient of a mouthful of chili pepper when enjoying din? This happens when peppers aren’t cut fine enough or mixed in well. For evenly distributed heat (and no hot-pepper hands), zest it with a microplane.
If you’d like to add a subtle nutty flavor to a dish, whether a salad or dessert, grate away. You’ll be in control of the texture, and flavor intensity, which is all based on how much you add. Just make sure to watch your fingers here, as well.
We love freshly minced garlic, but don’t always have the patience to chop. When you’re in a pinch, grate the garlic along the microplane, for a super delish garlic paste that packs flavor. Pro tip: Watch your fingers as you get to the bottom of the clove—it’s best to chop the rest.
The perfect tool for grating blocks of hard queso? Microplanes not only give a fine and fresh shaving, but addresses all the nooks and edges that may otherwise go untouched with a big grater. So, break out your favorite sharp cheddar, and pile it on.
Sure, you can eat chocolate by the bar or melted in baked goods, but we love shaving dark chocolate. Whether atop ice cream, cake, or the perfect hot cocoa, a little chocolate flake can only help the situation.
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