I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for help in the kitchen. There are tons of tasks I feel should be a breeze but aren’t—like squeezing lemons or mincing onions. Ultimately, I’m a lazy cook, and so I can use all of the tips from pros I can get—if I can get them of course.
I recently spoke with Eric Huang, an Eleven Madison Park alum who now makes some of the best fried chicken in NYC at Pecking House in Queens. To get it, you have to be on a waitlist for sometimes months, but let me tell you, boy is it worth it. It easily outdoes any fried chicken I’ve had in my life—and then there are the sides. I was excited to hear what Eric’s favorite kitchen tool is and why, but a little bit surprised by his answer.
“I’m obsessed with this Y-Shaped Peeler,” he told me. “It’s truly a marvel for the price.”
Kuhn Rincon Peeler
“I’ve seen chef’s who are skilled with a parallel blade, but it’s not worth it—it’s the same result with a way higher level of difficulty.”
Eric pretty much uses the Y-Shaped peeler on everything—but he says the way you grip it is “the secret to unlocking it’s true potential.”
“I’ll describe it as a ‘spray can grip’,” he said. “With the index finger as a guide, palm facing the object intended to be peeled and following the natural motion of the wrist of pulling down, you can become incredibly fast and efficient at peeling potatoes, citrus, carrots, really anything. I have never encountered a fruit or vegetable that it can't conquer with the exception of something exceptionally tough-skinned like a pumpkin or kabocha squash. But it can even handle butternut squash with ease if the blade is fairly sharp. It takes some practice but you can peel produce with long smooth motions that also result in long, regular peels to discard or compost. It’s generally cleaner and neater all around.”
I decided to ditch my vertical peeler that I didn’t even know was a problem until now for a y-shaped one. Eric was right, it did require some getting used to, but after a few minutes of mistakes, I was peeling everything in sight. In a short amount of time, it has become one of my most used items in the kitchen, and I can honestly taste the difference. I’m more likely to peel carrots or potatoes and it has really unlocked a level of sophistication and panache within my home cooking I didn’t even know was missing. And besides, the extra peels make for good compost material, if you’re into that sort of thing.
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