Friday, September 30, 2016

The Zester Trick

Everyone at work loves when I slice the cucumbers.  They all think it's some kind of pretty magic.  No, I just follow the company's instructions.  But those instructions did manage to teach me a trick that I can carry on to other aspects of my culinary life.

Most serious cooks have a zester somewhere in a drawer that doesn't get much use because they've moved on to microplane graters.  Mine's usually next to the tomato corer.  They're about the same size.
The big trick with the cucumbers is, instead of peeling them, run the zester down the skin in long strokes.  Strips of peel come off easily and leave you with a half-naked cucumber.  Then you slice it, and all those little ridges appear on the rims of the slices.  The thinner the slice, the more impressive the effect.  Plus, you don't have to worry if some of the stripes aren't straight.  At work I have a guide knife, but at home I use the thin side of the V-slicer.  This will make your salads pop and generally impress guests.
The trick also works with citrus.  Lemons work especially well.  Imagine a very thin slice of ridged lemon in a glass of fresh lemonade.  Really, any fruit or veggie that has a thin, edible peel and firm flesh can benefit from the method.  I went ahead and did it to an eggplant before cutting it up for the grill.  I tried doing it to a pumpkin one year, but the ridges aren't deep enough.  I ended up going back with a knife.  Carrots are harder, but still work.

Just something to add to your bag of tricks.

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