Rachael Ray's Garlic Trick Brings Caesar Salad To Another Level

In the culinary world, garlic is heralded as one of the great ingredients. This small aromatic vegetable is central to flavor boosting in all things savory. Even salad dressings, like a basic vinaigrette, Italian, and Caesar salad dressing, include garlic in the mix. When making a dressing for a simple Caesar salad in particular, garlic is vital for introducing its iconic and unique flavor. This note, when combined with umami, lemony, and smoky flavors, is what makes a Caesar salad dressing best. Yet, a fresh clove of garlic can come off as overpowering, as opposed to slightly dull garlic powder. For a happy medium, professional cook Rachel Ray has a trick that blends garlic flavors seamlessly into your Caesar salad.

Instead of adding garlic to Caesar salad dressing via minced, crushed, or powdered methods, Rachel Ray suggests rubbing the inside of the salad bowl with a clove of garlic. This professional chef-level trick imparts a subtle garlicky note that fills the bowl with a gentle aroma and flavor. The traces of garlic in the bowl won't overpower the dressing like a freshly crushed garlic clove can. This helps to build up a Caesar salad's composite flavor.

The science behind this garlicky trick

When adding garlic's aromatic qualities to a salad dressing, the first thought many people have is to crush the garlic. Crushed garlic has a pasty texture that incorporates well into smooth sauces. However, this crushing method can lead to a harsh outcome for salad dressings (in addition to causing garlic breath). The second garlic is cut into, molecules react to produce allicin, the compound that ultimately creates garlic's strong aroma and spicy taste. The more that garlic is cut into, the more it produces allicin, thereby increasing its vigor. A garlic clove that is crushed will be more pungent than one that is diced, and significantly more pungent than one that is sliced in half for rubbing in a salad bowl.

This is why Rachel Ray's trick of rubbing a clove of garlic into the bowl works so well. A small amount of the allicin in the bowl will give a Caesar salad just enough garlic aroma to introduce a background note that is present but not overbearing. As our brain uses both our sense of taste and sense of smell to register what we taste, the trace amount is all you need for your Caesar dressing.