At its most basic, a kitchen does not need fancy appliances and shelves full of gadgets. In fact, there are only a few dozen essential pieces of equipment you need to cook great food at home. Follow along in our new series, Kitchen Toolbox, to find out what tools you should own and grab recommendations for our chef’s favorite brands, when applicable. 

A citrus provides more than just juice. The zest is too often overlooked as a way to provide tremendous flavor to your dishes, from Chicken with Cherry Salsa (pictured) to Eggplant Rollatini with Lemony Ricotta. As we wrote about here, zest adds an amazingly fresh touch to whatever it is you’re cooking, without the sourness of citrus juice.

But it’s kind of a pain to zest a lemon or an orange without the right tool. You have to use a knife to peel off the outer skin (the inner skin is bitter), then mince that peel as finely as humanly possible. To make this whole process way easier, get your hands on a Microplane brand zester. Then just run the fruit down the zester, letting the little metal blades do the work.