I’ve lamented before about my ability (or, lack thereof) to get decent ethnic foods here on the Eastern Shore. One nationality that is well represented on our little island is Greece. I may not be able to get a burrito for 25 miles, but I can get a great gyro! I’ve come around to many Greek favorites in more recent years – feta, kalamata olives, and most importantly, tzatziki. It’s so deliciously cool and refreshing, and pretty much guilt free.
I’ll make a huge batch up whenever I make soulvaki for gyros, and leftovers keep great in the refrigerator for a couple of days. It’s a great afternoon snack, with a few wedges of pita bread. I’ve also discovered that oven fries (I made them with a bit of a Greek flair last time; lots of oregano and garlic) dipped in tzatziki is out of this world. I think it would also be wonderful along side grilled fish.
The key is to make sure you squeeze as much water as possible out of the cucumbers after shredding them. Tzatziki should be a relatively thick consistency. If you like it thinner, add some more red wine vinegar or lemon juice. I like to add a little bit of dill, just because I think it makes it a little prettier, but it’s optional. Dried dill doesn’t have that much flavor, so it’s not like it’s bringing that much to the party. Try this soon, it’s a healthy option that’s still full of flavor and very versatile. Opa!
1 (32 oz.) container of plain yogurt (preferably NOT fat-free)
2 regular cucumbers, peeled & seeded
3 cloves garlic, crushed (I usually use a microplane for this)
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
salt and a little pepper
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Strain yogurt using a cheesecloth over a bowl (if you don’t have that, a strainer lined with a coffee filter will work) for several hours or overnight to get out as much moisture as possible.
Shred or grate the cucumbers, place them in a clean kitchen towel, and then squeeze to get rid of as much excess moisture as possible.
Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumbers, garlic, vinegar and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. It’s best to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving, so flavors can meld.
Drizzle a little olive oil over the top before serving.
Source: adapted from Elly Says Opa!