Hello my Foodie Friends!
How many of us really like spiders? As a child, I would go outdoors and seek places to find them. My memories include reading “Charlotte’s Web” or stating the English nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet” and looking for the beautiful web designs made by spiders, dappled with dew at sunrise, or watching a jumping spider play with a moving capture on their web, and seeing shimmers of their webs of silk glisten in the sun. I would go outdoors and in the basement seeking these incredible creatures. However, not all of us liked spiders as a child or even as adults.
In the culinary world, a spider takes on a different meaning and serves an entirely different purpose. It may have a creepy name, but the spider is a go-to tool in the kitchen. It is much less creepy than an actual spider. It is called a spider because the woven metal netting resembles a spider’s web. It is a cross between a slotted spoon and a sieve and has a big, shallow wire-mesh bowl attached to a handle, making it your safest bet for scooping up any food cooking in hot liquid. Retrieve deep-fried anything out of oil, or shrimp, vegetables and bite-size pastas like ravioli from boiling water. Finer-mesh spiders are great for skimming impurities off the top of simmering stocks. Choose a spider with a long handle—whether it is made of steel or traditional bamboo or wood—and a heatproof grip, and you’ve got yourself a spider with legs.
I have found that the spider has become one of the most reached-for tools in my kitchen. The perforated bowl is perfect for transporting pasta from pot to pan (while reserving the pasta water), lifting items like dumplings or thinly-sliced potatoes out of sizzling oil, and picking blanched vegetables like carrots or green beans out of boiling water. Another great way to put the spider in action is when making eggs hard or soft-boiled. The spider makes it easy to lower multiple eggs gently into a pot and removing them three at a time is no problem either. Eggs love spiders, and spiders love eggs—it’s the perfect boiled egg tool. The best part is that you do not need a fancy or expensive one to reap all of those benefits. We carry the Helen Chen Spider, offered with a wooden or stainless-steel handle. It is comfortable and lightweight. Add this versatile tool to your culinary collection.
At Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, we carry all types of “cool tools” for cooks. Sorry, no real insects like spiders, but we have the ones that will help you do the job in the kitchen. Remember my Foodie Friends, “Life Happens in the Kitchen!”
Take Care, John & Paula