When I was living in New York City, I frequented a food cart at the corner of 18th Street and 5th Avenue (not the one pictured right, but pretty close). For about $5, I could get a gyro plate with my choice of steak, chicken, or lamb. The lamb was cut right off the rotisserie and tasted out of this world compared to other food carts in the city. The first few times I visited, the guy asked if I wanted any white sauce with my meal. Not knowing anything about the culinary world, I thought he was talking about mayo, so I said, “No thanks.” But one day I wasn’t paying attention and said yes. He squirted a generous helping all over the plate before I could say anything. It was my mistake, and I didn’t want to make a fuss, so I took my food to the park. Man, I had been missing out for weeks.
Tzatziki sauce is yogurt based and is usually made with a combination of dill or mint (sometimes parsley), cucumbers, and lemon juice. It is light and refreshing, and perfect as a new accompaniment to your summer barbecues.
Ingredients (makes 3 cups)
- 3c plain greek yogurt
- 1 cucumber
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp dill
1. Begin by straining your yogurt. Set a fine mesh strainer over a glass bowl. Scoop the yogurt onto the strainer and leave for a couple of hours.
Note: If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, use a couple of coffee filters over a colander. The idea is you want to let as much liquid drain from the yogurt as possible.
2. Peel the cucumber, and cut it in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and chop the cucumber halves into pieces. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp salt and place in a colander for 30 minutes. This will give the salt time to remove water from the cucumbers.
Note: Cucumbers are 95% water. If you don’t remove some of the moisture from the cucumbers, you are going to have a thin sauce. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
3. Place the strained yogurt, cucumber slices, lemon juice, dill, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has come together. Season with salt and pepper. If the mixture is too thick for your taste, add another tbsp of lemon juice or water.
4. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The longer you allow the sauce to sit, the more the flavors will come together. Serve with lamb, grilled salmon, chicken, or use as a healthy dip.