Introduced to the culinary scene in the 1990s, chefs and serious home cooks use the Microplane grater to finely grate fresh garlic, spices, coconut, ginger, hard cheeses, and to zest lemons, limes, and oranges. The pattern of the microplane grater is designed with small, sharp teeth used to grind down food, while the plastic handle prevents injury. Gently press the food in an up and down motion against the teeth until you have the desired amount. Then tap the metal end against a hard surface and rub any excess from the bottom to release all trimmings.
Microplane graters come in a variety of sizes ranging from fine to course with different uses for each.
The fine Microplane is excellent for grating foods like nutmeg, cinnamon, or chocolate and finely shaving citrus zest. The resulting appearance will be powdery.
The medium size Microplane shaves garlic and ginger for stir-fries, hard cheese like Parmesan and Romano, and citrus zest. Use this size when you seek wispy flakes of food.
The course Microplane is used for larger, ribbon-like shavings of foods such as chocolate, coconut, and cheese that serve as delicate garnishes for pasta, dessert, and salad.
Caring for your Microplane
Taking proper care of your grater is also important. After use, wash it with a brush in warm, soapy water to break up any excess particles embedded in the fine teeth. Air dry and place back into the protective cover to prevent injury.