Tips & Tricks

The Essentials: Make Cooking Easier With A Microplane

When you need to zest a lemon, shave dark chocolate, or grate a cinnamon stick to sprinkle over ice cream, all you need is a compact, simple kitchen tool: a Microplane grater.

When you need to zest a lemon, shave dark chocolate, or grate a cinnamon stick to sprinkle over ice cream, all you need is a compact, simple kitchen tool: a Microplane grater. Learn what makes it so essential in the kitchen and how to use it.

What It Is
A Microplane is a product line of sharp metal graters that chefs rely on. Before cooks caught on to the tool’s potential, the Microplane was originally used by woodworkers to soothe their products. Long, thin, and durable, the rasp grater is the most versatile Microplane model, with razor-sharp holes that make it easy to grate and zest even tough-textured ingredients.

How To Use It
While the Microplane is ideal for grating hard cheeses (like Pecorino and Parmigiano-Reggiano) over pasta and salad, it can come in handy way more often. “Microplanes are really useful for ingredients like ginger and garlic,” says Plated’s Chef Elana Karp. “Just by grating them, they instantly become what’s pretty much a paste–no chopping necessary!” Elana also loves using a Microplane for citrus. “In a minute or two, you can zest a whole lime or lemon for a more intense flavor that helps balance out the richness of creamy or meaty sauces.” The heavy-duty grater also works well for shaving whole spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon, when baking or to finish a mug of hot chocolate or other dessert with chocolate for a professional-looking garnish.

What To Look For
There are several different kinds of Microplanes, depending on their use: coarse ones for grating cheese, fine ones for spices. We turn to the rasp grater most for its versatility.

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