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Cheese Grating Boards

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My cheap grater board thingee produces about .001 cubic milliters of parmesan cheese dust with every minute of ardent rubbing.

Are some boards better than others, or is God just protecting my cholesterol level?

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  1. Get a microplane. I also have a nice rotary Zyliss grater. You'll have mounds of parm in no time. BTW I think that most food authorities agree that with a hard cheese like parm the effect on serum cholesterol is barely worth thinking about...

    1. Geez, Jim! Get with the program and get a microplane (or two or three -- they come in different sizes). They're not only great (or grate!) for parm, but for zesting citrus, grating ginger (still a pain, but not nearly as much), and practically anything else. One tip I learned (maybe even here on chow.com) was to turn the grater curved side up and draw it against the block of parm (or citrus fruit), which catches the gratings in the curve and is a much easier motion for grating anything large and firm enough to hold that way.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I'm lost!!! I don't understand how, if you turn the curved side up, the gratings get caught in the curve. I feel uber-dumb but can you please explain? If the curved side is up, then the non-grating side is down and the grating side isn't against the cheese & can't work. Am I not visualizing this correctly? What am I missing here???

        1. re: fauchon

          Instead of holding the grater in one hand with the cheese above it, put the cheese down on your counter or cutting board and draw the the grater, curved side up, across the top of the cheese. Does that help any?

          1. re: JoanN

            But if the curved side is up how can it grate the cheese? Wouldn't the curved side have to be down for the teeth to grate the cheese? I feel like a moron here...

            1. re: fauchon

              Perhaps you're not visualizing the grater correctly: the teeth are on the convex side of the curve, so the gratings go into the concave side of the curve. Here are some pictures: http://us.microplane.com/index.asp?Pa...

              Note that the "flexible set" they have on sale on their site is a good deal if you don't already have a selection of microplanes.

              1. re: fauchon

                Sorry, you're right. Forgot to engage brain before fingers. Curved side would have to be down. I'm the moron.

        2. I have the following:

          Round ceramic parmesan grater
          Metal rotary grater that seems to spew off little bits of metal when I use it.
          Cheap box grater
          Microplane zester - I don't like this one so much for parmesan - results too "airy"
          Expensive WMF one - http://www.distinctive-decor.com/wmf-...
          Flat grater (like one side of a box grater) but with pretty fine holes

          Of all of these, the last one is my favorite.

          (Now I can go conduct further tests of my culinary insanity by counting how many kinds of salt and olive oil I have!)

          5 Replies
          1. re: MMRuth

            I use a microplane. You're correct that the grated cheese is too airy. But I find that the airiness gets it incorporated better in the final dish.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              I also think it depends on what I'm making - sometimes I want it more incorporated than others.

            2. re: MMRuth

              Per my original post, it takes me minutes to get just a tablespoon using a standard flat greater (fine holes). What's your trick?

              1. re: Jim Leff

                Maybe your fine holes are too fine? Is it the kind where each hole is surrounded by metal sticking up (if that makes sense)? I have one side like that on my box grater and don't use it because it takes forever. My flat grater is "flat" around the top half of each hole, and has metal surrounding the bottom half. Unfortunately I couldn't find that one last night when I went to grate my parmesan!

                1. re: MMRuth

                  I took this photo last night when making risotto - the cheese on the right/bottom is from the microplane zester, the one on the top/left is from the rotary grinder.

                   
            3. What will you be using it for? If mainly to get parmesan on pasta, the rotary Zyliss is easier and faster than a Microplane. And it can be put on the table so people can add their own. I have two Microplanes and love them, but use them more often for zest, nutmeg, ginger, etc., than for parmesan.

              7 Replies
              1. re: JoanN

                The thing I don't like about rotary graters is having to cut the cheese into smallish chunks so it will fit in. With the microplane I just grab the big hunk o' cheese and start grating.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Absolutely true. But I do far prefer the grind I get from a rotary for topping pasta. Will use the Microplane for risotto, gougeres, or other recipes when I'm looking for the cheese to be incorporated.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    I hate those rotary graters! They're awkward and slow. Microplanes are fantastic!

                    1. re: christy319

                      Mine is neither. Do you have the Zyliss or another brand?

                      1. re: JoanN

                        I have very grater known and my least favorite is the rotary one. But it is not a zyliss. My big complaint is that a chuck/slice of cheese always ends up stuck in the chamber where you put the cheese in. Did zyliss work around that problem?

                        1. re: danhole

                          I don't have that problem with mine. It does leave a few crumbs, but no more than get stuck on the wrong side of my Microplane.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Good to know. because they are much easier to use than a regular grater. Less effort, less strain on my hands. I'll have to put that on my "wish list."

              2. This has to be the right answer. A Microplane rotary.
                http://www.amazon.com/Microplane-3900...

                4 Replies
                1. re: yayadave

                  Isn't that what they use at the "better" italian restaurants?

                  1. re: danhole

                    I don't know. I go to all the "hip" joints where they put the green can right on the table so you can have as much sawdust as you want.

                    1. re: danhole

                      IIRC the "better" Italian restaurants I've been to lately have used a regular microplane (the original long thin one).

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        I've seen that too, but we went to a highly recommended "authentic" (whatever that means!) Italian place and they had a grinder that deposited the fluffiest, fine shreds of parm that I had ever seen. I think it may have been one of those gadgets. Maybe, Ruth, your "better" is better than my "better"! LOL!

                  2. A zyliss grater will do the trick without you working too strenously. And, as a bonus, you can also chop parsley/cilantro with it. Starfrit might also have something similar (at Wal-Mart).

                    1. I know there are different microplanes, but I find my fine one makes parm cheese too fluffy--and it would not be great for grating a large quantity of cheese.

                      I bought a cheapo grater (brand unknown) at Bed, B&B that I LOVE. It's two-sided, with small and large holes, and hinged at the to so it folds in half, making it easy to store in a drawer. It's easy to grate a cup of parmesan on the small holes very quickly.

                      Graters do get dull--I've heard grating some foil on them can sharpen them up, but I never tried it.

                      Lastly, I've found that parm or pecorino is much, much harder to grate if it dries out. Gotta keep that cheese wrapped!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: tinarina

                        Just for a change, if you get hard cheese, try slivering it with a paring knife. It's a grate, ummm, great addition to pasta that way.

                        1. re: yayadave

                          My handheld grater has fine holes on the left, big holes on the right and a slicing blade in the middle. If I take the edge of hard cheese, and run it over the slicer blade I get the same results you are talking about.