Published March 1, 2007. From Cook's Illustrated.
We put three new rasp-style graters through their paces to see how they compare to our long time favorite.
After several years, we have grated hundreds of pounds of hard cheese, citrus zest, chocolate, shallots, garlic, carrots, radishes, and horseradish, and our favorite rasp grater remains an excellent performer overall. Our readers agree. Seventy-five of you responded to a Web survey, and not one reported significant dulling with normal use. That said, we recently noticed that its rasp-like design was no longer unique. We put three new rasp-style graters through their paces to see how they compare.
The results? The first required massive brute strength to produce even a few wisps of grated Parmesan. The second had the opposite problem--it gripped so well that it dug into the pith of the lemon. The third felt flimsy and lacked a handle, which made it difficult to use. And our kitchen standby? It breezed through all four tasks, producing piles of cheese, chocolate, zest, and ginger with minimal effort.
That said, we do have a note from the kitchen. Both readers and test cooks pointed out that this zester breaks down hard cheese into very light, feathery shards that weigh less than cheese grated on box or rotary graters when measured by volume. For instance, our tests show that 1 ounce of Parmesan grated on the fine holes of a box grater yields 1/2 cup of grated cheese, whereas the same 1 ounce grated on a rasp yields 3/4 cup of grated cheese. When following a recipe, then, use the recommended weight of hard cheese. If the amount is given by volume grated on a box or rotary grater, increase it by half if you are using a rasp grater.