So, the end of August is here and all our gardens are overflowing with an abundance of yummy produce. I myself was laden with a large quantity of hot house tomatoes from my father-in-law. I was actually eyeing his amazing basil plant (tree? vine? bush?), but instead he gave me a bunch of large cucumbers to round-off my bounty. Great, right? Wrong! The problem with cucumber in my house is that only I eat them. My dog spits ’em out (and she eats limp lettuce) while my husband rarely munches upon raw veggies. Even though I work from home and can snack on fresh produce all day I wasn’t making a big enough dent in my cucumber stash. Enter tzatziki!
Tzatziki is a great sauce to have in your arsenal. It is very customizable and everyone seems to have a different take on it. I have a close friend who favours a bit of basil in the sauce to round-off the freshness of the dill. I prefer my cucumbers to be shredded over diced, for texture reasons. Another spin I have encountered is Greek yogurt over normal run-of-the-mill yogurt. My recipe obviously chose the more budget friendly option and uses plain ‘ol yogurt for the base. I really like the texture and overall feel it gives the dip. As plain yogurt is a tad thinner than the Greek variety, under no circumstances should you use reduced fat yogurt. If so, you risk a Tzatziki-esque runny soup rather than a thick dip. Yuck.
The flavours of the tzatziki really come-out with the right amount of care and patience. Ensure your efforts are rewarded and properly drain the cucumber and let the sauce rest in the fridge prior to serving. It is also recommended to use the freshest ingredients possible, so ask your neighbours and friends if you can raid their gardens for cucumber, dill and garlic! After all, harvest season is all about coming together and sharing in the bounty and reflecting on the wonderful summer that is coming to close!
Fresh & Frugal Tzatziki
- 1 large cucumber (see step one)
- 1 large tub (ml) of plain yogurt
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped fine
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Using a cheese grater, grate cucumber, including the skin while avoiding the seed-filled center. Using a cheesecloth (or strong hands!), squeeze the grated cucumber to release the extra liquid. A large cucumber should give you roughly a 1/2 cup of the strained, grated flesh.
- In bowl, combine all ingredients adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate in a sealed container for a minimum of one hour for the flavours to come together (overnight is preferred). Serve with pita and fresh veggies for dipping or spooned over grilled chicken. Enjoy!