Monday, February 15, 2010
One of the greatest dips of all time, much healthier and less fattening than many of the cheesy concoctions gracing our supermarket shelves is tzatziki, a favourite not just in its homeland, Greece, but all around the world.
Perhaps its popularity is linked to its ease of making, but more than that, the flavour of tzatziki, especially when homemade, is much greater than the sum of its parts. It has an ability to transport one straight to the Greek isles, its typical fresh earthy pungency sitting so well in a taverna with a glass of the local retsina and a few olives, or oozing freely from a souvlaki.
A meeting of cultures, tzatziki with matzo bread, yum!
Tzatziki is not so much a recipe as an idea that can be bashed around a bit. Don't like the sharp slap of mint? That's okay, use dill instead. Prefer the zestiness of lemon juice to wine vinegar? Splash some right in. Afraid of vampires? More garlic will see them right off. You get the picture, it's yours to own.
2 Lebanese cucumbers
1 tablespoon salt - yes, this much. It'll be okay.*
2 sprigs mint, leaves stripped and finely sliced or,
few sprigs of dill, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons best olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
500g Greek (thick) yoghurt
Finely grate the cucumbers into a bowl, mix with the salt and leave for 30 minutes, then squeeze out as much of the salty juices as you can. Place the drained cucumber back in the bowl and add the mint (or dill), the crushed garlic, olive oil and the white wine vinegar, mix well. Add the yoghurt and stir in well, taste for salt, it will probably need some.
Serve with some flatbread, crackers or even your choice of cut vegetables. It also improves with keeping, by all means, make ahead.
*the salt is needed to draw out the cucumber juice that would otherwise make this dip watery. When you squeeze out the juice, most of the salt goes out too.