Friday, 18 May 2012

Tzatziki Stuffed Cucumbers

The trouble with tzatziki is that usually you have to have something else to put it on. This way, it goes on itself, so to speak. If you get the tzatziki thick enough this could be used as a pass-around appetizer or canape; in that case you might want to cut the cucumbers in thick slices and scoop them out to form little bowls.

When I picked up some nice little green house cucumbers at the grocery this week Mr. Ferdzy was a bit horrified; ("We're going to be up to our necks in them in July!") Yeah, okay; but in the mean time we are not, and we need to eat something. Still; while you can make this any time of the year with mini greenhouse cucumbers, it will make an extra-delicious appetizer or salad dish when those home-grown cukes are ready.

For the mint, the youngest, tenderest tops are the best - one little top pinched off for each cucumber you stuff. The instructions are for one cucumber (2 halves) but you can easily scale it up to make as many as you like.

Per cucumber (1 to 2 servings)
15 minutes prep time plus 2 to 3 hours wait time

1 mini cucumber
3 tablespoons thick yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon fresh mint
1/2 of a small clove of garlic
2 teaspoons lemon juice
fresh black pepper to taste

Wash the cucumbers, and cut them in half lengthwise. Use a grapefruit spoon to scrape out the middles, leaving enough of the walls to be sturdy; about 1/4" thick. Finely mince the scraped out middles. Mix them with the yogurt and a pinch  of salt.

Put the yogurt and cucumber mixture into a coffee filter set in a strainer over the sink, and strain the mixture for about an hour. Salt the carved-out cucumber halves and set them aside.

Meanwhile, wash and mince the dill and the mint, and peel and finely mince the garlic. Mix these gently into the draining yogurt mixture and let it continue draining.

When the mixture is quite thick, scrape it into a small bowl. Mix in the lemon juice, and adjust the salt if necessary. Rinse the cucumber halves, and pat them dry. This can, and perhaps should, be done some time in advance of when you wish to serve them. Store them in the fridge until wanted; an hour or two will give the flavours time to really come together.

Spoon the tzatziki mixture evenly into the cucumber halves and arrange them on a serving plate.

Last year at this time I made Chicken Salad with Fruit & Quinoa.

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