There’s nothing more refreshing than a chilled cucumber salad in summer. There are two ways to prepare this dish in German cuisine: with a traditional oil and vinegar dressing or with schmand. Schmand is a German dairy product that is similar to sour cream and can easily be substituted with crème fraîche or American-style sour cream.
The most important thing to pay attention to when making cucumber salad is that the salad doesn’t turn out watery. Cucumbers contain a ton of water that gets drawn out of its cells once it gets seasoned with salt and sugar. Therefore, the excess water needs to be removed prior to marinating the salad.
It’s the same procedure as for German coleslaw (‘Krautsalat’). You need to salt your cucumber slices and leave them to rest for 20 minutes. After that time, you will notice that your cucumber slices start to sweat. This is the point at which you can drain them and lightly squeeze out all of that water. You don’t want this water to dilute your marinade.
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What goes into the marinade for cucumber salad?
The marinade is a mixture of schmand, olive oil, and lemon juice. It’s important that you add finely minced shallots as specified because it is added raw to the salad. An onion would be too pungent in taste. The shallots lend a mild sweetness and bite to the dish.
Just like Swabian potato or carrot salad, cucumber salad tastes best when you give it some time to marinate before eating. The flavors need some time to mingle. 20 minutes is usually enough time for the cucumbers to soak up the flavor of the marinade.