I Use This $10 Kitchen Gadget Most in the Summer, and It Instantly Levels Up My Hosting Skills

published Aug 11, 2023
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Someone zesting lime.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

The other night, my parents invited me and my brother over for dinner. My dad, as he often does, piqued our interest with grand reviews of an abundant feast that had yet to be eaten. “It’ll be the best seafood pasta you’ve ever had,” he told me over the phone. “The best.” 

Quick Overview

What’s to Love About the OXO Good Grips Etched Zester?

The OXO Good Grips Etched Zester is easy to use, comfortable in hand, zests citrus perfectly, and made of long-lasting materials — all for just $10.

He wasn’t wrong — his pasta was good. Ribbons of fettuccine twirled between scallops, muscles, and shrimp that were the perfect shades of cream and pink, while the bright green of summer herbs enlivened every bite with sight and taste. But it wasn’t the best — and I admit, I enjoyed teasing my dad as to why. “You know what this plate could use?” I asked. “Acid.” The minute I said it, he quickly nodded and agreed.

Acid is likely the most underused ingredient in rich dishes, because it seems as if there’s no room for its lightness. However, using citrus heightens contrasting flavors. And that’s why this $10 OXO Good Grips Zester and Grater is probably the one thing missing from your recipes this summer

What’s So Great About the OXO Good Grips Zester and Grater?

The sleek OXO Good Grips Zester and Grater looks like it would be owned by someone who might say “Yes, chef” professionally. The black handle is easy to maneuver, and there’s a pop-off plastic cover that’ll keep the stainless steel bit sharp for many years to come. I also like using the zester that comes inside this all-in-one cheese grater (the only difference is the handle is smaller!). 

Oh, and one more positive: This tool is so minimal and so unobtrusive that you can take it from dinner table to picnic blanket as easily as a utensil.

Credit: Kelly Dawson

Given that this zester comes entirely as advertised, you don’t need to waste any time learning its bells and whistles — they’re right there waiting to be used. I hold a lemon in my hand and pull the zester back and forth over its bright yellow surface. The zest will pull off into the tool like clumps of bright confetti. But take note: Only zest the yellow peel of a lemon or another citrus, not the white pith. While the peel will provide a depth of flavor, the pith will only make things bitter. By rotating the citrus as you zest, you’ll avoid this issue. 

I like to zest lemon directly onto pastas, in vinaigrettes for salads, or on top of seafoods (which is why my dad’s seafood pasta was such a strong contender!). As soon as this acid is mixed in, a hearty dish has a light component with a slight edge, making it taste much more complex. It’s an easy way to give your recipes an additional layer of flavor, with just a few seconds of effort. 

Buy: OXO Good Grips Etched Zester and Grater, $10.99