Kitchen Gear: Fancy lemon zester
I’m serious about zesting. As someone who loves pure lemony flavour, I occasionally work with recipes that require lemon zest – my famous lemon blueberry muffins, say, as well as my family’s secret orehnjaca recipe*.
Of course, most people would just use the fine side of a boxy cheese grater. That’s what I did for years, not knowing any better. And then, at my aunt’s place, I discovered this wonderful device for zesting a lemon that I instantly fell in love with.
Why is it so great? Because it’s razor sharp, and it pulls off just the surface of the lemon. The strands of zest are thin and twisty, not thick and tough. For baking purposes, they contribute a lemon flavour without as much of a noticeable marmalade-like texture. The zest incorporates well, spreading the flavour evenly throughout the dough or dish.
The zester in our household has also pulled extra duty as a lime zester for making fresh-from-scratch key lime pie. The illustration on the package shows that it can also be used to grate ginger or parmesan, but I haven’t tried using it for either one of those yet.
One note of caution: This thing is shaaaaarp. Be very careful when you’re using it, or you might end up with a finely shredded fingertip. Same goes for cleaning. Wash it right away, and you shouldn’t have to scrub very hard to remove any stray stands of zest.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $22.95 at Le Gnome, a now departed kitchen shop at West Edmonton Mall. I still miss the place. It was spectacular.
Value for cash money: Not cheap, but it’s worth it if you do much baking that involves zesting.
Availability: Good kitchen shops usually have them.
Brand?: Microplane. The cover says “Classic Series.” The blade is made in the U.S., and the unit is assembled in Mexico.
The verdict: A basic kitchen gadget that doesn’t take up much space. It’s wonderfully useful for the task it was designed to do.
(*Orehnjaca is a traditional Yugoslav walnut roll. You make it in loaf form, with the bulk being a sweet, buttery, lemony dough, rolled, jelly-roll-style, with a layer of walnut/sugar/meringue filling. Our secret family recipe has been passed down for several generations. Often imitated, never duplicated. That sort of thing.)