Tzaziki Sauce and Greek Grilled Cheese
Story behind this recipe
I fashioned the "taste" and format of this from a local greek "fast" restaurant. I just kept experimenting until I got it right!
Wine suggestion: a french white bordeaux, or a pinot grigio from Italy. A chardonnay might work if it's european style (not buttery or oaky).
Beer suggestion: Red Tail Ale (amber) or Blue Heron Ale (pilsner) - from the same brewery.
1/3 to 1/2 a European cucumber (the big kind, usually wrapped in plastic wrap), grated
1 cup plain yogurt
Fresh garlic cloves (1-2, or 3, depending on how much you love garlic!)
Grated mild cheese, like Tilsit or Havarti
Romaine lettuce, torn
Chopped plum tomatoes
Grate the cucumber chunk (peel and all) over a standard hand-held grater. Place in a colander, rest the colander over a bowl, and sprinkle the cucumbers with salt (no more than 1/2 teaspoonful, enough to pull the water out of the cucumber). Cover loosely with wax paper, and set in refrigerator to drain, at least 20 min, but a little longer is even better. Meanwhile, drain any liquid that may be on top of the yogurt (you may even drain the yogurt as you did the cucumbers if you wish - this option depends on how firm you want the tzaziki).
Meanwhile, slice the garlic lengthwise, and salt it a little; then chop it very finely (the salt helps you do that).
When the 20 min are up, take your hand and press more water out of the grated cucumber. Discard cucumber water, unless you can think of something inventive to do with it. Similarly, discard yogurt water if you also drained it over a colander. Combine yogurt, cucumber, and chopped garlic. Add some oregano (start with a pinch and taste until it seems right) and some freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add a tiny bit of salt but only if it seems to need it.
We use this on a Greek grilled cheese - simply grate a semi-generous mild cheese (I like Black Knight Tilsit) onto large soft pitas and warm them through and until cheese melts - but not so much that the pitas get crunchy!
Remove them from the oven and generously add lettuce pieces and chopped plum tomatoes. Add a generous amount of the tzaziki you just made, and fold to eat (you won't be able to put it down, it's so messy - so have your beer, dry white wine, or whatever, and lots of napkins handy when you begin to eat!)
Maybe have a few whole calamata olives on the side.