I just love kitchen gadgets — from vegetable peelers to cutting boards and everything in between. You’ll often find me in the kitchen section of retail stores browsing for the next best kitchen toy.
Over the years, I have become very fond of some items that I can no longer live without, one of which is the microplane. Originally designed for fine edge grating of wood, they are now used in all kitchens across the globe, specifically in pastry kitchens.
Pastry chefs will use the microplane for zesting of citrus fruits, adding depth, aroma and flavours for all things pastry related. You may also find a pastry chef using a microplane to grate fresh mace (the seed covering of nutmeg) for impactful perfume in his/her recipe.
I personally like using the microplane for grating of nuts over the top of dishes as a means of final garnish. I also enjoy using a microplane for grating of firm cheeses, adding a light and “snowy” topping for garnishing of dishes. Microplane (the company) has also come out with new designs with different grating surfaces for use on many different specific ingredients.
I have also found clever ways of using common gadgets and making them more versatile, like rolling up herbs and slicing them with scissors, using a vegetable peeler to thinly slice cheese and/or fruits, or using a ladle to act as a transfer for eggs in the hot water when poaching for eggs Benedict.
You’d be surprised at what you can come up with by experimenting with your common gadgets and attempting new approaches.
Massimo De Francesca is the executive chef of Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.