Authentic Greek Tzatziki
This recipe was generously gifted to me by a friend’s Greek grandma. She told me that most Tzatziki recipes aren’t traditional, as they have lemon and/or dill in them. Hers is the genuine recipe, the way it’s served all over Greece, containing garlic & full fat Greek yogurt (10% or more preferably). If you’re a garlic lover, you’re going to adore this! You can add a little lemon juice and/or dill or other dry or fresh herb, if you like… but I suggest trying this, as is, before changing the recipe. If you do decide to add some dill or other herb, do so sparingly as your serving it… that way the taste of the herb doesn’t overpower the Tzatziki.
Serve this, as a refreshing dip, with hunks of artisan whole grain crusty bread and/or bread sticks as a snack or appetizer. The Greeks also serve it with roasted lamb or any kind of grilled meat. I also love to serve this with an assorted vegetable platter & it’s even good as a healthy sandwich spread. The uses for this sauce/dip is really limitless!
Serves: 3 to 4
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, full fat at least 10% (see Tip# 1)
1 small, thin organic cucumber (see Tip# 2)
1/2 to 3/4 of a large garlic clove, peeled (see Tip# 3)
1 Tblsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, 3 pepper mill turns
1. Thoroughly wash & dry the cucumber, then cut off a 3″ length (see Tip# 2).
2. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Using the large holes on a grater, grate the 3″ cucumber piece into the strainer & let sit 10 to 15 minutes, allowing it to release some of it’s juices.
3. Add the yogurt to a 1 quart glass bowl. Finely grate desired amount of garlic clove into the yogurt.
4. Add the EVOO, vinegar, salt & pepper.
5. Using your fingers, firmly press the grated cucumber in the strainer to help it finish releasing it’s liquids.
6. Add the strained cucumber to the yogurt mixture & discard the juice.
7. Briskly stir with a whisk, for about 1 minute, till the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Cover & refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight to allow the ingredients to marry.
8. Stir again & serve.
Tips & Suggestions
1. The flavor & texture of full fat yogurt is far superior to low or non-fat. If you feel you must use a lower fat, I suggest using Fage 2% yogurt.
2. If you’re using the cucumber unpeeled you must use organic, as you don’t want the pesticide residue & wax from the skin in your Tzatziki. Personally I prefer not to use the skin in mine, so I’ll go ahead & use a non-organic cuke & peel it.
3. I use a large garlic clove and only grate 1/2 to 3/4 of it, that way I don’t grate my fingers as well as the garlic! The amount you use depends on your individual taste.