We have plenty of cucumbers at the moment, our plants are pumping them out like crazy and what a great summer vegetable it is. Cucumbers make me think of Greece and a holiday I had there over twenty years ago.
Tzatziki turned up on my plate one evening in the restaurant and I asked the waiter what it was. He explained ”is a salad,” but it didn’t look like any salad I had ever eaten. Dipping in was a revelation. Fresh, minty, creamy with tangy garlic, I have loved it ever since. Cooling and fresh, it keeps you coming back for more.
I love Tzatziki as an accompaniment to any Greek food, as a dip and also a great side dish to any curry.
At this time of year though, when cucumbers are so prolific, fresh and tasty, it’s great to have as the centerpiece. As my Greek waiter indicated, it’s a salad in its own right.
Cucumbers are one of our success stories this year, we have them in abundance and I can honestly say I feel there is a massive difference between ours and something plastic wrapped from the supermarket. Perhaps it is the varieties that we grow (Tanja and Marketmore) or maybe because we don’t use any chemicals, herbicides or artificial fertilisers.
My recipe for Tzatziki is:
1 (or 2) large cucumber peeled, de-seeded and grated
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp Mint leaves, finely chopped
Half a large tub of plain Greek yogurt (the actual amount is up to you, depends how ‘yogurty’ you like it).
Note, adding 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice is an option and some recipes have lemon as the main flavour with mint as optional extra. I prefer mine minty.
Peel, de-seed and grate the cucumber, place in a colander, then sprinkle with a little salt. Place a saucer on top and something to weigh it down. Leave for a while so that the salt and weight drive out some of the water from the cucumber. Without this step the dish can become quite watery.
Place all the ingredients in a dish and then mix well. Chill in the fridge. Enjoy
If you have any good recipes you want to share for Tzatziki, its variations, or anything with cucumbers, send it to me or leave it in the comments below.