Add Cucumber To Your Caesar Salad Dressing For A Kick Of Freshness

A simple Caesar salad is a rich, savory dish that in its classic form contains lettuce, croutons, dressing, and cheese. It's a time-tested, revered formula that many chefs, from high-end steakhouses to home kitchens, don't dare tinker with. However, the salad's tangy dressing can be harnessed to highlight more than just plain old greens — a cucumber twist could freshen up your late summer dinners.

Caesar dressing is known for its creamy, tangy, anchovy-and-egg base, often complemented with a generous helping of parmesan cheese. Romaine is the typical base for the salad, but what about freshening — and crunching — things up a bit by subbing in cucumbers? It might surprise you, but there are quite a few recipes out there that recommend using the refreshing vegetable in place of lettuce to take the freshness of your Caesar salad up a notch.

Cucumbers are the secret weapon in a Caesar salad that Chef Philip Krajicek whips up to garnish a fried chicken cutlet dish. They're also the key to other recipes that eschew Caesar's traditional formula. For instance, dill — a common cucumber pairing — is a recommended addition as a garnish or dressing ingredient. More heat can be added in the form of red chili flakes to complement the watery crunch of the vegetable.

Cucumber salad with Caesar dressing deserves a spot on your plate

Typically, cucumbers are a supporting character in salads, and they're usually left out of the conversation altogether when it comes to Caesar. When cucumbers get to shine in their own salad, a light dressing — like vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in Asian cucumber salad — is more common. Counteracting the watery freshness of the vegetable without erasing it is the key to the dish's success.

Mixing together Caesar dressing and cucumber does this a bit differently, upping the creamy flavor factor of the dish to take the vegetable in an even tastier direction. (It follows similar lines as — German cucumber salad or Gurkensalat — dressing sliced cukes in creamy, acidic sour cream and vinegar.) The dish can work well as a refreshing appetizer and it pairs especially well with heavy food like barbecued meat, fried chicken, or pasta.

While it's not absolutely necessary for all types of cucumber, salting and draining the cucumbers ahead of time can help remove excess water and ensure that the flavor of the dressing remains concentrated. All in all, pairing the salty tang of Caesar dressing with a cucumber's freshness, richness, and crunch is about maximizing delicious contrast.