Saturday, March 17, 2018

Wild garlic tzatziki

Since we started talking about wild garlic and those flaky flatbreads on my last post, let’s now move on to the serious stuff. Let’s talk about tzatziki; wild garlic tzatziki.

For those of you who don’t know what tzatziki is, it is a Greek sauce/dip that’s served alongside all sorts of meats and fish, as a mezes together with other small plates to dip your bread, pita or crunchy, fried vegetables in, and it is an integral part of souvlaki.

It is made with thick Greek yoghurt, garlic, cucumber, dill, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. That is all.
In Greece, by the way, what the rest of the world calls Greek yoghurt, we call strained yoghurt, which denotes its thickness in contrast to the other yoghurts we have in Greece. We have many kinds of yoghurt to choose from in my homecountry. ;)

It is one of my favorite sauces and one that I make almost every week to accompany my meals and I invariably use regular garlic to make it, but not this time; because this time I had my wild garlic find that I couldn’t wait to use in my tzatziki. And it was dreamy.

The wild garlic is a worthy substitute for the regular garlic cloves, adding a herby flavor and a more gentle garlic aftertaste without, however, being any less sharp or properly garlicky which is exactly what you seek when you crave tzatziki.

Wild garlic tzatziki

The amount of garlic you use is a matter of personal taste, some people like their tzatziki stronger than others, but tzatziki should have a garlic flavor, that’s the point, so don’t be prudent and follow my lead. You can always taste as you go and if you reach a point where you think it’s enough, just stop adding.

I used mainly the little stalks of the wild garlic in my tzatziki as they have the more pungent garlicky flavor but I added some wild garlic leaves as well that have a more herby flavor and that’s what made my tzatziki even more special.

Others will have you strain the cucumber before adding it to the tzatziki but I have never done that in my life and my tzatziki is always thick and proper. Yes, cucumber has a high water content and some of it will leak into your tzatziki making it a bit thinner, seeing, though, that real Greek tzatziki is made with thick, full-fat Greek yoghurt, the cucumber liquid leakage, especially in the time it takes from making the tzatziki to serving it on the same day (I wouldn’t advise you to make it in advance, it’s best served the day of) is minimal. The yoghurt is thick enough to not really be affected by this negligible amount of cucumber liquid. What would be ideal, however, is if you scooped out the center of the cucumber where all the seeds and most liquid are, before using it, even though I don’t do that every time and really don’t have an issue.

Yield: enough for 4 people (or 2 if you’re anything like my boyfriend and me)

500 g Greek yoghurt, full-fat
10-12 wild garlic little stalks, finely chopped
4-5 wild garlic leaves, chopped
Small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
70 g peeled (and deseeded preferably) cucumber, cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp red-wine vinegar
Freshly ground white pepper, 5-6 turns of the pepper mill
Salt, to taste

Olive oil and extra dill, for serving

I advise you to always prepare tzatziki right before or no more than 1 hour before you need it. It’s ridiculously easy to make and you can always prep the ingredients beforehand and put together the sauce at the last minute. Trust me, it’s the best way to go when it comes to tzatziki.

In a large bowl, empty the yoghurt and add the chopped wild garlic (both stalks and leaves), the cucumber, olive oil, vinegar, pepper and a little salt. Mix well with a spoon to combine all the ingredients and give it a taste. Add more salt if needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl/plate, drizzle with a little more olive oil, sprinkle a little extra dill on top and serve.


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