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Being a "foodie," I have many kitchen tools that I love dearly, and I sometimes wonder how I ever lived without them. The rasp grater is one of those tools that went from being a "nice-to-have" to a "gotta-have-it."

A rasp grater wasn't something ever found in home kitchens until the 1990's when it was developed by brothers Richard and Jeff Grace. The hand-held microplane® has thin, sharp edges, perfect for shaving soft or hard foods. The brothers, however, didn't have cooks in mind when they came up with the idea, rather they were looking for a design to mount on a hacksaw to smooth and shape wood. But it didn't take long before cooks took notice and used it for their own good.

Different from a box grater or "shredder," the rasp grater is often long and slim like a bread knife with a handle to grip. While a box grater may have different blades that produce different size shreds, the rasp grater has just one blade that produces very tiny paste-like ribbons. Instead of tearing the food, the rasp grater shaves it. Simply drag the food over the rasp and the zest will collect on the underside of the tool.

Zesting lemons, limes and oranges is what the rasp is known for best. Its tiny holes is perfect for getting the peel but not the pith (the bitter white portion of the skin.) This zest will add a burst of citrus flavor to your foods, including baked goods, vegetables, shrimp or fish. However, don't let this tool be used solely for zesting citrus. It's ideal for zesting harder foods, such as ginger root, garlic, hard cheeses, chocolate, cinnamon sticks or nutmeg.

Use the rasp grater in my favorite vegetable salad (recipe below) to grate ginger root. Save time by buying a mixed bag of chopped broccoli and cauliflower, as well as bagged shredded cabbage!


Fresh Kale and Vegetable Salad

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root

1 pinch salt

2 cups chopped kale

½ cup chopped cauliflower

½ cup chopped broccoli

½ cup chopped cabbage

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, ginger & salt in a large glass bowl; whisk well.

Add kale, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and cilantro to dressing; toss to coat. Refrigerate and serve.

Yield: 6 servings


Nutritional analysis per serving: 50 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 15 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein