I had a foodie 'ahah!' moment recently when our local Greek place enclosed extra tzatziki (dza-DZEE-kee) sauce with my falafel pita. While using the stuff liberally, I realized: 'Cucumbers? I love cucumbers. Yogurt. Love yogurt! Garlic? Yes, I love garlic! Holy cow! This stuff is my perfect food, and I never realized it before!'
I had leftover tzatziki, and snacked on it the next day experimentally: Potato chips and tzatziki? Delicious. Raw veggies and tzatziki? Check. Gala apple slices and tzatziki? Strange but good. I ran out of tzatziki at this point in my snacking extravaganza, but I imagined more of the divine sauce on sandwiches, on fish (baked, fried or ceviche - ole!), on lamb burgers, a dollop on white bean soup, with sauteed spinach and artichokes.... and on and on. So here's a recipe I whipped up. The sugar is not traditional, but the sauce from our Greek place is a little sweet, which I love, so I added it.
16 oz. Greek yogurt
4 cloves of garlic, chopped extra fine (You can reduce the amount to your taste. Note: I think if the garlic was roasted first, it would be incredible
1 Cucumber (Hothouse variety, also called English or European), seeded, skin left on
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tsp. Fresh Dill (you can also substitute mint here)
1 Tbsp Salt, Plus 1/2 Tsp.
2 Tsp. Sugar
Pinch Fresh Black Pepper
Grate the cucumber on a box grater, stir in the tablespoon of salt, and place in a sieve over a bowl (or, heck, over your sink if you're feeling low-maintainance). Allow the salt to draw out the water from the cucumber for 30 - 45 minutes.
Place the yogurt in a large-ish bowl. Squeeze what remaining water you can out of the cucumber, and add to the yogurt. Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well mixed. It's best to allow the tzatziki to 'rest' in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Enjoy!