The Great Tzatziki


It started in the spring, with snap peas. Raw. Dipped in tzatziki. I couldn’t get enough.

I love how the earthy, grassy crunch of the pods gives way to the sweet peas, possibly better than I like the peas by themselves (also, I’m usually too lazy to shell them). I also love fresh dill and always struggled a bit to use up the huge bunches from the store. Tzatziki, made with strained (Greek) yogurt and flavored with dill, also includes ingredients I usually have on hand–cucumbers, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and salt.

It’s just a little bit magical: put a bowl of tzatziki next to a plate of raw vegetables–peas, celery, carrot sticks, sliced peppers, broccoli, whatever–and watch those vegetables disappear. You can also use it as a sauce for kebabs or fish or dip bread in it. When my daughter had some friends over recently, I put out vegetables along with tzatziki and some ranch dressing. I don’t think anyone touched the ranch dressing.

My recipe is adapted from one by The Shiksa in the Kitchen.

The Great Tzatziki

1-2 c plain Greek yogurt (I prefer full fat, but use low fat if you like it better). To make your own Greek yogurt, instead of paying a premium for it, strain regular yogurt. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and let it sit over a bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours.
1 medium cucumber, or half an English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and finely chopped
1-2 tbl chopped fresh dill
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed in a press
1 tbl lemon juice
3 tbl olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Wrap the chopped cucumber in cheesecloth or a couple of layered paper towels and squeeze out as much water as you can. Mix everything together in a bowl. Taste to adjust seasonings. You may like it more or less garlicky, or lemony, or salty. This version is fairly thick and chunky. To make it a little thinner,  add some regular (unstrained) yogurt. To make it less chunky, dial back the cucumber.