What's On the Side: Tzatziki Sauce

Friends of ours were heading out of town last week, so they gifted us with some of the bounty from their CSA share. Among the vegetables we received were a couple of cucumbers, and my first thought was to put them to use in a tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is a cold sauce made from thickened yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. It is common to Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish, Armenian, and Middle Eastern cuisine and is often served as a dipping sauce or as an accompaniment to grilled meats.

I used fresh parsley from my herb garden in this recipe; other commonly used herbs include dill, mint, or thyme.

Tzatziki Sauce (printer-friendly version)
makes about 2 cups

1 small cucumber, seeded and grated
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large clove garlic, grated
2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Place the grated cucumber in a colander and toss with the sea salt. Set the colander over a bowl and place in the refrigerator to let the excess water drain from the cucumber (at least one hour).
2. Carefully press any excess water out of the cucumber with the back of a spoon.
3. Place the cucumber into a serving bowl. Stir in the grated garlic, Greek yogurt, and lemon juice. Stir in the olive oil. Then stir in the chopped parsley. Season to taste with black pepper.

(adapted from this Ina Garten and this goop recipe)