Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going Greek: Tsatsiki

I love Greek food. There is something so simple and so "of the land" about it, plus it always reminds me of the trip I took there, oh, about...uh...well, sadly it was so many years ago that it is depressing to think about. It is still one of those places I would go back to in a heartbeat. So, I get my Greek fix in other ways here in Portland. My friend dds has warmed my palate more than once with her creations. Alexis Restaurant here is still the place that reminds me most of eating in Greece. And every now and then I'll make a bowl of my all-time favorite Greek condiment, tsatsiki. It is one of those things that is so easy, and incredible satisfying. Its garlicky heat that prickles your tastebuds, only to get reined in by the cool yogurt and juicy cucumber bits. I made this version last weekend when we had some friends over. I really made for my friend Athena, whose surname of Pappas tells you all you need to know about her love of Greek food. I knew she was particular about such things, and ever up for a challenge, I couldn't wait to see if I would get the dis or the love. She took a bite, I waited.....and she was all smiles! So if you need a fresh app this summer that is fabulous spread on some pita or sliced baguette, and washed down with an ice cold glass of rosé...or better a bottle of retsina...get your Greek on with the E.D.T. Tsatsiki!
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E.D.T. Tsatsiki
makes about 5 cups
4 cups plain Greek style yogurt (see note at bottom)
2 pounds cucumber (about 3), peeled and chopped fine
3 or 4 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped fine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
quartered pita loaves or sliced baguette as an accompaniment

Put the cucumbers in a sieve and press out as much excess liquid as possible. In a bowl stir together the drained yogurt and the garlic paste, add the cucumbers, the mint, the oil, and salt and pepper to taste, and combine the mixture well. The tsatsiki may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Serve the tsatsiki with the pita.

Cooks note: If you can't find Greek style yogurt, which seems to be widely available these days, then do the following with plain yogurt: In a sieve set over a bowl and lined with a triple thickness of rinsed and squeezed cheesecloth let the yogurt drain, covered and chilled, for 8 hours or overnight.
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one year ago today @ E.D.T.: eating around Portland: Tabla Bistro and Justa Pasta!


dds said...

Love the tzatziki, and this recipe sounds divine. I promise to add more garlic for you next time.

Purists may balk, but try grating the cuke using the big holes. I just grate directly onto a thin cotton dishtowel, salt, twist up and squeeze the crap out of it (we can say "crap" here, can't we?), then chop. Super fast, and nice and dry.

And nothing satisfies like Greek pita fried lightly in oil, but for a quickie or single serving? Try toasting a Trader Joes Naan. Not bad!

bb said...

You are always garlic appropriate! And I've made it grating the cuke, but like the bite of the little chunks.
"we can say "crap" here, can't we?" have been reading this blog, right?!
TJ's naan bread is always delicious, but like the idea of lightly frying the pita in oil....mmmmm, fried bread......

Anonymous said...

I'm with the dds above, .....just grate it. I usually de-seed the cukes first.
I use salt, too. Lots of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the dds above, .....just grate it. I usually de-seed the cukes first.
I use salt, too. Lots of it.

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