Hye Thyme Cafe: Tzatziki Salad

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Tzatziki Salad

Tzatziki Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

A lot of times, especially on "movie nights," my sister and I would put together individual antipasto platters for everyone, with olives, meats, cheeses, veggies, pita wedges, and Tzatziki. Typically, Tzatziki consists of plain yogurt, cucumber (usually grated or minced), garlic, and dill - sometimes olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and other herbs such as mint, parsley, or thyme. I sometimes like to convert the Tzatziki into a salad, which is a great summertime side dish for cookouts, because it's very cooling and refreshing. 

One thing you want to be sure to do, especially if you'll be preparing it earlier in the day, is to strain the yogurt and/or salt and strain the cucumbers, because they both tend to give off water, and you want a salad, not soup. Another tip is to mince your garlic and stir it into the yogurt before straining. That will save you time, because you want that flavor to infuse into the yogurt, so doing it at the same time will save you from having to wait later.

Yes, of course, if you have a garden and lots of fresh cucumbers, go ahead and use those, but for this dish, I prefer English cucumbers for a large salad, or the mini pickling cukes for a small version. If you do use garden cucumbers, you will definitely want to go ahead and salt those, because they tend to be more watery/seedy. When it comes to straining the yogurt, you will see that I like to keep a stack of coffee filters on hand for just such an occasion. I let the yogurt strain for at least an hour (overnight if I know I'll be using it the next day), and just lift the filter out of the strainer, tip it over a mixing bowl, and the strained yogurt sort of just peels right off the paper. 

2 English cucumbers, sliced thin
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 c plain yogurt, strained
2 T dill (plus more for garnish)
Optional - pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

  1. Mince the garlic and stir into the yogurt, transferring to a strainer (as I mentioned, I like to line it with a coffee filter) over a mixing bowl to drain the liquid.
  2. Because you will be leaving the skin on the cucumbers, be sure to wash them well to remove any wax or pesticides, then thin slice into coins. If you are going to salt your cucumbers, line the slices in a large colander, sprinkle with a big pinch of salt, and set in the sink or over another bowl to catch the liquid.  After about 20", pat dry.
  3. In a large serving bowl, stir the 2T of dill into the yogurt/garlic, then stir in the cucumbers, to coat evenly.
  4. Sprinkle with additional dill for garnish, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes if desired.
Tzatziki Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe
Tzatziki Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Tzatziki Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe
Tzatziki Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Tzatziki Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Tzatziki Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

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