Eggplant Tzatziki

August 13, 2007


If you like baba ghanouj, you’ll love this yummy eggplant dip. Instead of tahinni, it’s made with tzatziki, a Greek yogurt-cucumber sauce. The flavors are a perfect blend of summer. SAM

1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt, also called ‘yogurt cheese’
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup grated cucumber
1 tablespoon fresh dill or fennel fronds, snipped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Flat-leaf parsley and paprika for garnish
Pita bread cut in triangles, for serving

Cut the eggplant in half and place cut-side down in a glass baking dish. Add the water, cover with plastic wrap leaving one corner open, and microwave on high for 8 to 9 minutes or until the skin is slightly wrinkled and begins to collapse. Microwave longer in 1- or 2-minute intervals, if necessary. [See Cooking Tip] Still under the plastic, cool for half an hour, then gently squeeze out any excess juice and scrap the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and beat with a pastry fork until light. Add the yogurt, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, cucumber, dill or fennel, salt, and pepper. Beat until well blended. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and garnish with parsley and paprika. Serve with wedges of pita bread.
Makes 4 to 6 appetizer servings.

COOKING TIP: Yogurt Cheese

August 13, 2007

Yogurt Cheese is yogurt with much of the whey drained out. Line a 7-inch sieve or colander with two layers of paper towels, letting the edges hang over the rim. Place it over a large bowl and spoon in 16 ounces of plain yogurt. Fold the paper towels over the top, anchor with a small plate, and place a 5-pound weight on top. Let drip for 3 or 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. Use it in sauces or as a substitute for sour cream. But—a CAVEAT—if you make it out of non-fat yogurt, do NOT use it in hot or baked dishes. Without fat, it won’t cook properly.
Makes 1 1/4 cups.