I have just returned from an incredible week sailing the Aegean on the luxurious Seabourn Quest. (http://www.seabourn.com) It’s truly a wonderful way travel and I highly recommend the experience. A week of Mediterranean cuisine will undoubtedly influence the next few posts on this blog. I’ll start will some of the incredible dips and appetizers that are found on nearly all menus in Greece and Turkey. Tzatziki, one of the most common, is perfect for spring and summer and can be served as a dip with pita bread, or as a sauce for grilled meat or vegetables.
Greek yogurt here is key; don’t substitute regular plain yogurt or the sauce will be very watery. FAGE Total Classic Greek yogurt is the most widely available brand in this country. You can also make your own Greek-style thickened yogurt (see procedure below) to use in place of the Greek yogurt.
1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded
1 ¼ cups plain Greek whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves and/or dill leaves
2 small garlic cloves minced or pressed through a garlic press
Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Sea salt and pepper
1. Shred the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater.
2. Whisk the yogurt, oil, herbs, and garlic together in a medium bowl. Stir in the cucumbers and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. (The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Makes about 2 cups