Go to your fridge and open it up. Do you have a bowl of tzatziki in there? If you answered yes, pat yourself on the back. If you answered no, there are only two exceptions for it not being in your fridge right now. One is that it’s outside of the fridge and being eaten, and the other is that you’re making more tzatziki after the last batch had been polished off. Other than that, I suggest you keep plenty of tzatziki nearby at all times because this creamy dip goes well with just about everything. And I mean everything.
Tzatziki, also known as “that white stuff” that is smothered on gyros (pronounced yee-rohs, not gi-rohs please) is made of thick Greek yogurt and fresh cucumbers and herbs. Oh, and of course a generous amount of garlic is mixed in and will sneak up on you whether you (and anyone you talk to for the next three days) like it or not. Tzatziki is a perfect compliment to grilled meats like lamb or kabobs, and is commonly served tableside with warm pita and vegetables. To go beyond the common use of this versatile dip, tzatziki can be spread on a burger and used as a sauce for fries. It can be topped on salmon or salad. It can be dipped with dolmades. You can even mix a little tzatziki in a spoonful of pilafi (lemon rice). The point is you really can’t go wrong with tzatziki.
As you can tell, tzatziki is one of my favorite dips. But I’m more of a tzatziki consumer than maker because my brother, Pete, has dubbed himself the tzatziki chef in our family. Pete won’t let anyone else make it. He won’t even let anyone watch him make it. He’s never shared the recipe with anyone until now. I basically had to start this blog to get the recipe from him and beg him for it, with the chance to get himself and his famous tzatziki featured.
So, after many years of Pete mastering the art of glorious tzatziki making, “Pete’s Tzatziki” is available for everyone to enjoy. But Pete, just because you’ve given up your recipe doesn’t mean you’re off the hook from being on call for when I need to stock my fridge with more tzatziki.
-2 cups homemade Greek yogurt (or Fage yogurt)
-2 whole cucumbers
-4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
-½-1 tsp white pepper or to taste
-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
-½ lemon, juiced
-1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (optional)
1. Peel, seed, and grate the cucumbers. Place the cucumbers in a colander and put a heavy plate on top and set aside for at least 30 minutes to drain.
2. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, and white pepper. Add the grated cucumbers (use less or more to the consistency you want).
3. Add one Tablespoon olive oil and mix together well. Then, add one-teaspoon vinegar and mix together well. Repeat this process two more times. Then, add lemon juice slowly and combine well.
4. If preferred, add dill and mix together well or just use for garnish.
5. Taste and if necessary add more olive oil or salt. Enjoy!
Note: Tzatziki gets stronger the longer it sits. Some like to make the tzatziki the night before to allow the garlic to blend together.