Helen Chen’s Stainless Steel 5″ Spider Strainer with Bamboo Handle

Generally speaking, I don’t want things named “spider” anywhere near my kitchen, and I especially don’t want them to have anything to do with my cooking. The one exception I’ll make is for a spider strainer like this one.

This flattened-colander-on-a-stick is one utensil that comes in handy way more often than you’d think. It can be used to…

  • Safely scoop fried foods out of bubbling hot oil.
  • Remove pastas of all kinds from boiling water — thereby reserving that liquid gold for, say, finishing a cacio e pepe dish.
  • Gently lower multiple eggs into a pot of water, then take them back out after they’ve boiled.
  • Skim foam off of broths.
  • Blanch vegetables.

…the list goes on. This particular spider ($9) has a 5-inch stainless steel strainer basket at the end of a lightweight bamboo handle — an ideal combination for both ease of use and kitchen durability. They also offer a 7-inch version ($12) for cooking larger meals with, which also works surprisingly well for washing blueberries and the like.