The Fifth Side of the Four-Sided Grater |

The Fifth Side of the Four-Sided Grater

I love the French word chambrer. Babelfish says it means to confine, but wine enthusiasts and cooks know it means to bring to room temp, or what would be room temp if we were living perfect lives in drafty castles. I use high-fat butter that mellows, rather than melts, outside the refrigerator most of the year (in New York), and I usually have some at hand as I want it, but now and then I need spreadable butter in a hurry and it's all chilled or even frozen. Out comes the old four-sided grater. A block or stick of butter slid downward against the coarsest panel quickly produces a heap of pale yellow shards that may instantly, prettily be brought to table.
My new favorite off-label use for the grater is as an asparagus steamer insert. Stick the grater into a tall, narrow lidded pot with a couple or inches of water or, in a pinch, stand it in a small saucepan and tent foil to capture the steam. Either way, brief cooking of the upright asparagus produces even doneness of stalk and tip, whether you like yours al dente or Gumby-style.


zeli11 • 05/04/2009
Sign In to post a comment.