Monday, April 28, 2008


In the previous post, I promised the tzaziki recipe. This one isn't exactly traditional, but pretty close. I should have used yogurt, but I used home-made quark instead. It's what I had in the house and sometimes you just have to make do.

1 cucumber
1t Kosher salt - divided use
2 cloves garlic
1 cup loose packed mint - the fresher the better
1T high quality, preferably Greek, extra virgin olive oil
1 cup quark (or 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, strained for about an 30 minutes)
juice of 1/2 lemon (more or less to taste)
freshly ground black pepper, also to taste.

Peel the whole cucumber in stripes lengthwise, so that you have alternating peeled/unpeeled surfaces. You could completely peel it, but I likethe color and texture of a little peel. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Discard the seeds. Chop the cucumber finely (1/4" dice) and salt in a colander for 30 minutes. This removes much of the liquid and makes the tzaziki less watery.

If using plain yogurt, strain it through cheesecloth for about 30 minutes. You should have a little more than a cup of strained yogurt.

Peel and make a paste out of the garlic. Using a press is fine, or simply running your knife over it on the curing board works too. Put the garlic paste into a small non reactive bowl. Add the olive oil. Set aside. Pull the mint leaves off the stems and discard the stems. Mince the mint leaves and add to the oil/garlic in the bowl.

Add the quark (or yogurt if using) to the mint/garlic/oil in the bowl and stir well. Rinse the cucumbers, pat dry (very dry) and add to the bowl. Stir and taste. Add lemon juice a little at a time until you have the flavor you want. Check for seasoning, adding a couple of grinds of black pepper.

Set aside (well covered) in the refrigerator for at last an hour.

Serve with lamb souvlaki, gyros, shoe leather, pretty much anything. It should keep the vampires away for a bit too.

1 comment:

Marc said...

just reading through back posts and I noticed this. I have a quick more sauce like version of tzatziki that makes an excellent topping to lamb burgers

1 cucumber seeded and sweated (not peeled)
greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic
1-2 t olive oil
kosher salt

Food process the garlic
continue with the cucumber
strain out a little water (in strainer or cheese cloth)
Toss in the olive oil, pulse to mix
toss in the yogurt and pulse a bit again.

Depending on how you serve it toss in some minced fresh mint leaves, minced dill, tahini, or feta. it makes for a super quick easy dip/sauce. Also if you can get it, real ricotta thickens it nicely, but the ricotta here is awful