Another day, another classic Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern dip, this time Tzatziki, or Cacik as it’s known in Turkey. (It’s certainly not Irish, but at least I’ve got some green going on!) Whatever you want to call it, this dip stands out as one of my all-time favorites. Cool, thick Greek-style yogurt is combined with crisp, refreshing cucumbers and laced with pungent garlic and mint for a concoction that is as good on the humble pita as it is on spicy grilled meats.
Good tzatziki is all about texture. Yes, balance of flavor is always important, but when it comes to this specific herb-inflected spread, I like mine thick and creamy. Here, liquid is the enemy so my version calls for not one, but two ‘purges’ of moisture (once for the yogurt and once for the cucumbers) in an effort to control the final consistency of the dish. Now, you can go out and buy thick, Greek-style yogurt at the supermarket, but if you’ve been swept up in its recent trend then you’ve probably already noticed that their not exactly giving that stuff away. That’s why I buy plain, whole-milk yogurt and drain away the excess whey overnight in the fridge — less money, more moisture control.
This stuff is so refreshing that I’m sure once you try it you’ll be making it for dolloping and dipping throughout the spring and summer months. Plus, once you get the technique for straining the yogurt down, you can forgo the savory addition of garlic and cucumbers and try drizzling it with honey, stirring in fruit or topping it with granola for an exceptionally delicious breakfast or snack.