After a summer that felt more like early October, we in the Midwest are now experiencing a heat wave. I can’t think of a better recipe to beat the summer heat than my favorite Greek yogurt-cucumber dip (or sauce, depending on how you use it) – tzatziki! Difficult to spell and difficult to say — but simply delicious to eat.
Growing up with a family of northern European descendants, this was not a dish I encountered. It wasn’t until my now- husband brought me to Greektown in Chicago that I experienced this simple but delectable dish. I remember thinking “Ttzatziki — where have you been all my life?” Not to mention the guy, but that’s another story.
Composed of Greek yogurt, shredded cucumbers, garlic, dill and if you have it, a touch of mint, this sauce or dip is excellent with chicken, fish, lamb kabobs, pita bread, even veggies. I even mention this dish in my cozy mystery — I couldn’t resist.
Here is a version of my sister-in-law’s recipe for Tzatziki, aka Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce. Try it, you’ll like it!
I medium cucumber (or half of one of those giant-sized “English” seedless cucumbers)
2 cups plain Greek yogurt (I use Fage)
4 cloves garlic, minced (more or less garlic, to taste. The more garlic you use, the more tangy this is.)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 – 2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp fresh dill
1 tsp chopped fresh mint (optional)
Peel cucumber and grate it. (If it has seeds, quarter it lengthwise and remove seeds, then grate). Place grated cucumber in a strainer over a bowl and press down with a spoon to remove excess water from cucumber. Let drain for a few minutes.
Combine cucumber with remaining ingredients. You can serve immediately but I prefer to cover and chill for about an hour — it improves the flavor.