Tzatziki makes an excellent mid-day snack. It's packed with protein, it contains a decent amount of vegetables, and its bright, clean flavor tastes good on anything. The first key to a great tzatziki is to allow the salt ample time to draw water out of the vegetables. The second key is to be brutal when squeezing that water out. You want a solid, dry lump to mix into the yogurt so it will have maximum flavor and the best texture. And of course the third key is to taste, taste, taste!
Yields about 3 cups
- 1 English cucumber
- ½ small red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
- 2 tablespoons mint
- About ten sprigs parsley
- 12 - 16 ounces Greek yogurt, any fat content (I mix 2% and non-fat)
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- A square of cheesecloth or a clean towel
- Line a colander set over a bowl with a square of cheesecloth or a clean towel. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the cucumber and red onion directly into the towel. Grate the garlic into it using the small holes. Zest the lemon and add to the vegetables.
- Toss the vegetables with the teaspoon of salt, mixing everything very well. Allow to sit and drain for at least an hour.
- Finely mince the parsley from the leaves to about the last 2 inches of stem. Chiffonade the mint and stir both herbs into the yogurt. Allow to come up to room temperature while the vegetables drain.
- Twist the cheesecloth or towel around the vegetables to force it into a tight ball, pressing out as much liquid as possible; the cheesecloth may burst. When you are confident no more liquid can be squeezed out, add to the yogurt.
- Mix the vegetables, yogurt, and ground pepper well. Squeeze about half of a lemon into the mixture, stir and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper or lemon to taste. Best served slightly chilled, but not cold.