Tzatziki, or, finding my inner Greek

Tzatziki - from above resized

It’s a bold thing to suggest that any recipe for tzatziki is an original and I don’t make that claim. It’s a classic sauce/accompaniment that has its origins in Greece but versions also appear in Turkish, Cypriot, and Persian cuisines. I owe what I know about making great tzatziki to both the wonderful Jamie Oliver and the gorgeous George Calombaris. I’ve never used a recipe so writing this down was a challenge in itself. But, with the summer weather here in Australia the hottest it’s been for many years, I was seeking something suitably cool and calming to make. We ate it with relish at our place.

Makes about 2 cups

2 small cucumbers
1 cup greek yogurt
1 lemon
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
sea salt and black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Grate the cucumbers into a small bowl and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Let it sit for a few minutes and then squeeze firmly in your hands to extract all the liquid. Place the cucumber in another bowl and discard the liquid. Finely grate about 1/4 of the garlic clove into the cucumber and then the zest of 1/2 of the lemon. Add the mint leaves and the yoghurt and stir until well combined. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and then spoon into a serving bowl. Grate a little more lemon zest onto the top and then drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve with bread or crackers or with a simple host of Greek dishes.

Tzatziki - far view resized