Friday, July 23, 2010
As you've been able to tell by now, I am on a Mediterranean, Greek, in particular, kick this summer. My discovery of how easy it is to make pita bread and remembering how easy it is to use eggplant that's accumulated by making baba ganoush, has made me search for other Greek recipes. This week's new addition was Tzatziki.
I don't like cucumbers. Not a bit. Maybe if they're pickled just right, but that is the only way. So far this summer, I've been able to use all of our CSA cucumbers by feeding them to M, J, and Curtis. They're slowing down on their cucumber consumption though, so I needed to find another way to use my remaining pound of cucs before I got my new box today.
Thus tzatziki. I whipped up a batch of pita, grilled some chicken souvlaki (recipe coming), and made tzatziki to accompany it (along with diced tomatoes, and roasted mild chile peppers). Tzatziki is basically pretty easy to make, the hardest part is slicing the cucumbers. The rest of the process pretty much involves waiting and not much else.
Unbelievably, I actually liked tzatziki. I put it on my chicken souvlaki pita and enjoyed the tartness of the lemon and yogurt and freshness of the dill. I did my best to totally ignore the cucumbers (although I did like the slight crunch they provided).
Follow this recipe closely, it's not difficult but in order to avoid runny tzatziki you need let the salt pull the water out of the cucumbers and the liquid drain out of the yogurt. Do those steps and you will have wonderful tzatziki.
This recipe makes 2 cups.
adapted slightly from Serious Eats
1 lb cucumbers, ends removed and sliced lengthwise
2 c plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large handful of dill, minced (about 1/4 - 1/3 c)
juice of 1 lemon
Scoop out cucumber seeds with a spoon. Slice each half lengthwise to have 1/2" wide strips (about 4 - 8 long strips per cucumber depending on cucumbers thickness. If they are young, small cucumbers, you probably can skip this step). Thinly slice the cucumber strips, not paper thin, but less than 1/4" thick. Lay out a dish towel or paper towels on the counter. Spread out the cucumbers in an even layer on the towel. Sprinkle generously with salt. If the cucumbers don't look glossy and moist after a few minutes, sprinkle more salt on them. Let them salt for a half hour. Pat the cucumbers dry with a dish towel.
Meanwhile, line a fine sieve with cheesecloth, a paper towel, or a coffee filter. Put the yogurt in the lined sieve and let set for 15 minutes to allow the excess moisture to seep out. Discard excess moisture.
Mix together, yogurt, cucumbers, dill, lemon, and garlic. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding a little more salt, if necessary. It is preferable for this to be refrigerated for a few hours before serving to let flavors marry, but it is just fine if eaten immediately.