Friday, May 9, 2014

"World's Best Tzatziki" -- Amen to That!

While the rest of the world was making chicken mole and perfecting guacamole earlier this week for Cinco de Mayo, I was going Greek with "The World's Best Tzatziki" courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen.

I first made this tasty condiment a few years ago, when Kalyn first posted it. Usually I make it with dill, as Kalyn originally posted it -- and dill is the most traditional herb used in tzatziki.

But I had a mint plant sitting on my kitchen window sill that was dying a slow death and a couple of cucumbers likewise languishing in the fridge. The reason my stewardship of food was slacking was the god awful cold that kept me and Mr. Rosemary down for nearly a week, each unable to comfort or nurse the other very well.

Still, my awareness of the state of the mint and cucumbers (and my deep-seated frugality) spurred me to gather what little energy I had and make this tzatziki. (Great name, isn't it? If only you could pronounce it!)
Kalyn is quick to credit her Greek friend Georgette for introducing her to this version of tzatziki. Basically, tzatziki is a mixture of yogurt and cucumber, flavored with dill, lemon and garlic. It's the usual condiment for gyros and is a great companion for lamb (or any grilled meat or fish.)  It makes a great dip for crudites and I even used it as a salad dressing, a refreshing replacement for the ubiquitous ranch.

It takes a little time to make -- mostly because the cucumbers need to be drained so you don't end up with a watery sauce. Other than that, the food processor does the work. Just like my hummus.

"The World's Best Tzatziki"
only slightly adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen.
2 medium cucumbers, seeded, drained and diced
3 cups plain Greek Yogurt (or regular plain yogurt, strained) as described above)
juice of one lemon (about 3 T)
1 garlic clove, chopped
about 1 T kosher salt  -- for salting and draining the cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh mint (can substitute mint leaves for a slightly different version)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and  scrape out seeds. Discard seeds.  Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

Pllace the cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper in the food processor, fitted with the steel blade.. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.)

This will keep for a few days or more in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.
* You can peel the cucumbers. I didn't; just washed them well. I liked the additional color and texture.