|The Cutting Edge
There is a different result in the appearance of veggies when chopped
or shredded and when cut or shaved. For example, take an onion, cut
it into dice-able layers, and then chop one layer to dice size with a dull
knife or cleaver. Then take another layer and dice it with a sharp
chefs knife. Compare the result and you will find that the dull knife
or cleaver produced diced onions, a lot of juice and lot of tears.
The nicely diced onion, done with a sharp knife and a practiced cutting
motion, produced a neat pile of diced onion, little juice and few tears.
Unconvinced? Do the same test with fresh parsley and note the dark-green
bruised edges of the chopped stuff.
Legend has it, that about four years ago, a home baker somewhere pulled
out her old zester—which had done honorable service since the Eisenhower
administration—scraped it over a lemon with such poor results that she
said, “this thing finally has got to go.” But so did her lemon cookies
that were off to the bridge club in three hours, no matter what.
She left the kitchen and headed for the garage workshop to tell here husband
to drop everything and go get her a new zester. At the moment, husband
was smoothing the sawed edge of a nice piece of hardwood. She looked
at the lightweight stainless steel tool he was using and said, “Gimme that
for a minute.” The rest is history.
There is a line of graters and zesters called Microplane, made by Grace
Manufacturing, a heretofore woodwork tools outfit. They are made
of stainless steel and have pressed-out and honed cutting edges that shave
rather than shred. The zester is so good that it is now standard
issue to new students at the professional pastry course at L’Academie de
Cuisine, in Maryland.
They have a Web site, http://www.microplane.com/.